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Title: Goethe and Schiller - An Historical Romance
Author: Mühlbach, L. (Luise)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Goethe and Schiller - An Historical Romance" ***

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                         Transcriber's Notes:
                         ####################

This e-text is based on the 1899 edition of the book. Minor punctuation
errors have been tacitly corrected. Inconsistent and uncommon spelling
and hyphenation have been retained. Words obviously missing a single
letter have been tacitly corrected.

Italic text in the original book has been placed between underscores
(_italic_); passages in small caps have been characterised by forward
slashes (/small caps/). [oe] symbolises the corresponding ligature.

The following passages have been corrected or need to be commented:

    # p. 24: "verlaszt": obsolete form of "verlaßt"
    # p. 61: "court-marshal": literal translation for "Hofmarschall"
             (lord stewart)
    # p. 106: "voiec" --> "voice"
    # p. 111: "come, your majesty" --> "I come, your majesty"
    # p. 119: "may taken" --> "may be taken"
    # p. 285: "into the the room": doubled word removed.
    # p. 296: "after along" --> "after a long"
    # p. 308: "and taken up" --> "had taken up"
    # p. 319: "osberved" --> "observed"
    # p. 321: "countenanec" --> "countenance"; "opposite Schiller's
              bed" --> "opposite Goethe's bed"
    # p. 339: "wonderlich" --> "wunderlich"
    # p. 350: "Signore" --> "Signora"
    # p. 458: "than no soirée" --> "that no soirée"
    # p. 491: "Charlotte's" --> "Caroline's"
    # p. 493: "Weningenjena" --> "Wenigenjena"
    # Footnote 42: "Dante Alighiere's" --> "Dante Alighieri's"
    # Advertising pages: 2nd and 4th; 3rd and 5th page are identical in
      the original book --> 4th and 5th page deleted.



                [Illustration: SCHILLER IN HIS ATTIC.]



                          GOETHE AND SCHILLER

                         An Historical Romance

                                  BY
                              L. MÜHLBACH

      AUTHOR OF JOSEPH II. AND HIS COURT, FREDERICK THE GREAT AND
         HIS COURT, THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE, ANDREAS HOFER, ETC.

                     TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY
                            CHAPMAN COLEMAN

                               NEW YORK
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
                                 1899



                          /Copyright/, 1867,
                     /By/ D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



CONTENTS.


    BOOK I.

    CHAPTER                                                         PAGE

    I. Introduction,                                                   1

    II. The Trials of Life,                                           10

    III. Henrietta von Wolzogen,                                      22

    IV. Joy and Sorrow,                                               33

    V. Charlotte von Kalb,                                            41

    VI. The Title,                                                    59

    VII. Adieu to Mannheim!                                           68

    VIII. Plans for the Future,                                       73

    IX. The Last Ride,                                                85


    BOOK II.

    I. After the King's Death,                                       111

    II. "Le Roi est Mort! Vive le Roi!"                              120

    III. The Favorites,                                              129

    IV. The Maid of Honor,                                           138

    V. Figaro,                                                       143

    VI. The Alliance,                                                157

    VII. The Conditions,                                             173

    VIII. New Love,                                                  180

    IX. The Decision,                                                189

    X. The Invocation,                                               198

    XI. The Will,                                                    214

    XII. Leuchsenring,                                               226


    BOOK III.

    I. Schiller in Dresden,                                          236

    II. Gilded Poverty,                                              245

    III. Marie von Arnim,                                            252

    IV. Souls in Purgatory,                                          268

    V. Separation,                                                   283

    VI. The Song "To Joy,"                                           293

    VII. Together once more,                                         299

    VIII. Goethe and Moritz,                                         314

    IX. Leonora,                                                     326

    X. A Dream of Love,                                              340

    XI. Adieu to Italy,                                              355


    BOOK IV.

    I. The Return,                                                   360

    II. Reconciliation,                                              377

    III. Grim Death,                                                 385

    IV. Goethe's Return from Rome,                                   394

    V. Estrangement,                                                 404

    VI. The Two Poets,                                               421

    VII. The First Meeting,                                          431

    VIII. Wilhelmine Rietz,                                          443

    IX. Husband and Wife,                                            450

    X. The Attack,                                                   460

    XI. Youth Victorious,                                            470

    XII. Schiller's Marriage,                                        482



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                  FACING
                                                                    PAGE

    Schiller in his Attic                                 _Frontispiece_

    The Dead King                                                    116

    Portrait of Schiller                                             236

    Portrait of Goethe                                               315



GOETHE AND SCHILLER.



BOOK I.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.


The honest and peaceful inhabitants of Mannheim, the capital of the
Palatinate, had long since retired to rest; the streets were deserted,
and the houses wrapped in darkness. Only high up in the little bow
window of a corner house on the Palace Square still glimmered a faint
light like the subdued gleam of a lamp in a sick-chamber.

But the watch, who had just proclaimed at the corner in stentorian
tones the third hour of the morning, knew better; and, as he entered
the square, he again looked up at the illuminated window, gravely
shaking his head.

"Mr. Schiller has not yet gone to bed," said he to himself; "writing
all night again, I suppose. But I will not stand it! Did I not promise
Mr. Streicher that I would always look up at his window, and, whenever
I found the light burning after one o'clock, protest against it? Well,
then, I'll try it to-night, and keep my word, as an honest man should."

And in stentorian tones the watchman cried out, "Mr. Schiller! Halloo!
Mr. Schiller!"

For a moment the window was darkened by a shadow, and then opened, and
a hoarse voice demanded, "Who called? who called my name?"

"I, Mr. Schiller. I, the watchman, Fabian," roared the man in response.

"And what do you desire of me, worthy guardian of the worthy city of
Mannheim?"

"I wish to beg of you, Mr. Schiller, to be so good as to put out your
light and go to bed."

"What brought you to this strange and ridiculous idea?" exclaimed the
voice from above, laughing loudly. "What does the light behind my
windows concern you, a watchman and a guardian of the streets?"

"Really it doesn't concern me at all," cried the watchman. "I know that
very well, but I have promised the music-teacher of my daughter, Mr.
Streicher, to pay attention to your window, and every time I see the
light burning in your room after one o'clock, to call you, and beg you
in the name of your dear friend to be kind enough to put out your light
and go to bed."

"A very ridiculous idea of Mr. Streicher," said the voice of the
invisible poet, laughingly, "and I am only surprised that you should do
his bidding, and take this task upon yourself."

"Don't be surprised, sir, for I am not doing it gratis. Mr. Streicher
told me that whenever I had called you, and begged you in his name
to go to bed, I should have to pay only half-price for the next
piano-lesson of my daughter; and I beg you, therefore, Mr. Schiller,
to be good enough to tell Mr. Streicher to-morrow that I have done his
bidding. And hereafter do as you please, sleep or wake. I have done my
duty. Good-night, Mr. Schiller."

"Good-night!"

The poet rapidly closed the window, and drew the folds of the old
threadbare coat which served him as a dressing-gown closer around his
shivering form.

"The good and true Streicher," he murmured in a low voice, "is an
honest soul, and means well, and does not know how he has injured me
to-day! I was in the grandest flow of enthusiasm; all the discomforts
and necessities of life had disappeared! I was no longer cold, there
were no more tormenting creditors, no cares, and no pangs of love! I
was in thy heaven, Father Zeus! And the messenger of my friend comes
and calls me back to the cold, inhospitable earth. The fire of my
enthusiasm is extinguished, and now I am sensible that there is no fire
in the stove!"

He raised his large blue eyes, and glanced through the dimly-lighted
space toward the high black stove, within the open grate of which only
a few glimmering coals were visible.

"No fire," sighed Schiller, shrugging his shoulders, "and no wood to
make one. Poor, feeble man! The fire of the soul does not suffice to
warm thy shivering body, and the prose of life ever recalls thee from
the Elysian fields of poetry. But it shall have no power over me.
I will defy it! Forgive me, friend Streicher, but I cannot do your
bidding! Your watchman calls to me to sleep, but Don Carlos calls
to me to be wakeful! I cannot let the Spanish prince call in vain!
Fortunately the coffee-pot is still standing in the stove. If it is yet
warm, something can be done for the poor, shivering body."

He rapidly went across the room to the stove, knelt down before the
fire-place, drew the brown coffee-pot from its bed of ashes, raised it
to his lips and refreshed himself with several long draughts, after
which he carefully restored the vessel to its former place.

Truly a strange sight, this long, thin figure in the gray-yellow
flannel gown, a pointed nightcap on his head, stooping before the
stove and occupying himself with a coffee-pot! If the admirers of the
tragic poet Schiller could have seen him in this position, they would
never have believed that the young man in this miserable apparel--the
long, lean, angular figure, with the bony, homely face and yellow hair,
loosed from the confinement of the queue, and falling in dishevelled
masses over his sunken cheeks--that this man was the author of the
three tragedies which for the last few years had filled all Germany
with astonishment, admiration, and terror. Like the column of fire,
harbinger of a new era, they towered on the grave of the old, licking
the heavens with tongues of flame.

About ten years before, Goethe's "Sufferings of Young Werther" had
flooded Germany with great enthusiasm. This wonderful book, half
romance, half reality, had pierced the hearts of all like lightning--as
if these hearts had been but tinder awaiting ignition and destruction
at the touch of this eloquence, this passion of love, and revelling in
destruction by such heavenly agents! In the impassioned and excited
state of the public mind, Goethe's "Werner" had been received by the
youth of Germany--yes, of all Europe--as a revelation of the spirit of
the universe, as a proclaiming angel. On bended knees and in ecstatic
devotion they listened to the heavenly voice which aroused their hearts
from sleep with the holy sirocco of passion, and awakened them out of
the tameness of prose to the passion and vehemence of poetry; to the
blissful pain of unsatisfied longing and heaven-achieving love.

And now, when the excited minds had hardly quieted down, when the
dazzled eyes had hardly become accustomed to the heavenly effulgence
shed upon them by "Werther"--now, after scarcely ten years, another
wonder occurred, another of the stormy, impassioned periods, of which
Klinger had been the father and creator, with his soul-stirring dramas,
had given birth to a new genius, and a new light was diffused over
Germany.

In the year 1774 Goethe had published his romance, "Sufferings of Young
Werther." Carried away with sympathy by his lofty enthusiasm, all
Germany--yes, all Europe--applauded and hailed him as the wonderful
poet who had embodied the sorrows and pangs which agitate the heart and
soul of each individual, in a sublime symphony, in which every sigh and
every thought of suffering, weeping, rejoicing, and exulting humanity,
found expression. Schiller's first tragedy, "The Robbers," was produced
upon the stage for the first time in 1782; and its effects and results
were of the most vast and enduring character.

Goethe, with his "Werner," had imbued all hearts with enthusiasm for
love and feeling; Schiller, with his "Robbers," filled all hearts with
yearnings after liberty and hatred of tyranny. The personal grandeur
and freedom of man were idealized in the noble robber Charles Moor,
and, not only was this magnanimous robber the hero of all young girls,
but the hearts of all the young men were filled with abhorrence of and
contempt for the tyrants who had compelled this high-minded man to flee
to the Bohemian forests and become a robber in order to escape the
galling chains of subserviency to princes.

Enthusiasm for this champion of liberty, this robber, Charles Moor, at
the same time imbued all with detestation of tyrants.

The lion-rampant which was to be seen on the printed copies of
"The Robbers," and which bore the motto "_In Tyrannos_," was only
a representation of the German people, who, moved to the core by
Schiller's tragedy, and made conscious of the worth and dignity of man,
asserted itself in its majesty against tyranny.

"Had I been present at the creation of the world as God," said a German
prince at that time, "and had I foreseen that 'The Robbers' would be
written in this world, I would never have created it."

In a German city where "The Robbers" was produced on the stage, the
performance had so powerful an effect on the minds of the youth, that
twelve young men formed the plan of fleeing secretly from the houses of
their parents to the Bohemian forests, in order to make up a band of
robbers. All the preparations had been made, and the twelve juvenile
robbers had agreed to meet on the following night at a designated
place outside the city gate; when one of the young heroes, in giving
his mother a last good-night kiss, could no longer restrain his tears,
and in this manner led to the discovery of the great secret and the
prevention of the plan by the arrest of the youthful band of aspirants.

As the German public was filled with rapture for the suicidal love-hero
Werther, it now worshipped the suicidal robber-hero Charles Moor: while
love then excited its transports, liberty and the rights of humanity
were now the objects of its enthusiasm.

And the poet Schiller added fuel to the flames of this enthusiasm.
A new tragedy, the theme of which was liberty, "Fiesco," soon
followed his "Robbers;" and the sensation which it caused was still
to be surpassed by that excited throughout all Germany by his third
tragedy, "Louise Müllerin, or Intrigues and Love." This was, at the
same time, an exaltation of noble love, and of the proud human heart,
and a condemnation and denunciation of the established prejudices
which arrogantly recognized nobility and gentle birth as conferring
prerogatives and privileges.

"The Robbers," "Fiesco," and "Louise Müllerin," these were the flaring
torches of the revolution which in Germany was to work out its ends in
the minds of men, as it had done in a more material manner, in France,
on their bodies. In France royalty and the nobility were conducted to
the guillotine, in Germany they were pilloried in public opinion by the
prince and court marshal in "Intrigues and Love."

Goethe had given the German public the ideal of love--Schiller gave
them the ideal of liberty. And the poet of "The Robbers" was as warmly
enshrined in the heart of the German people as the poet of "Werther" had
been.

But alas! the admiration and enthusiasm of the German public shows
itself in words and praises, but not in deeds in material proofs. True,
the Germans give their poets a portion of their hearts, but not a
portion of their fortune.

Schiller had given the Germans his three tragedies; they had made
their triumphal march over every stage in Germany; but Schiller had
nevertheless remained the poor poet, whose only possession was the
invisible laurel-wreath which adorned his noble brow, accorded him by
the German people.

His countless admirers saw him in their inspired thoughts with his
youthful head entwined with laurel, and would, no doubt, have been
horrified if they could have seen him in his dressing-gown, the
nightcap pulled down over the laurel, stooping in front of his iron
stove and endeavoring to rekindle the coals with his breath, in order
that his coffee might be warmed a little.

But it was a vain endeavor. The fire was almost out, the coals glowed
but faintly, and the poet's breath was not strong enough to renew the
flame.

"All in vain," sighed Schiller, replacing the coffee-pot on the ashes,
with a disconsolate shrug of the shoulders; "where there is no fuel,
there can be no fire."

He slowly arose from his kneeling position, and, his hands folded
behind his back, walked with rapid strides to and fro in his little
chamber. The dimly-burning tallow-candle which stood on the table,
covered with papers and books, flared up whenever he passed, and
illuminated, for the moment, the large rugged figure and the pale
countenance, with the high forehead and light-blue eyes. At first this
countenance wore a gloomy, troubled look. But by degrees it assumed
another expression; and soon the flaring light showed in this dingy
little room the features of an inspired poet, with sparkling eyes, and
an exulting smile.

"Yes," he exclaimed, in a loud voice, "yes, it shall be so! I will
append this scene to the third act, and it must be the loftiest and
grandest of the entire tragedy. Not to Prince Carlos or to the queen
shall Posa proclaim his sublime ideas of liberty and his plans for the
happiness of the people. No, he shall hurl them in the face of the
tyrant, of King Philip himself. With the lightning of his words he
shall warm this rock of tyranny, and unseal the spring of inspiration
in the breast of the man-despising, bigoted ruler, and make the waters
of human love play joyfully! Oh, ye eternal gods, give me words, fire
my thoughts, and give wings to my inspiration, that I may be able to
give expression, in a flow of rapture and poetry, to that which now
fills my whole soul!"

He rushed to his table and threw himself with such violence into his
old stool that it groaned and cracked beneath him. But Schiller paid
no attention to this; his whole soul was in his work, his whole heart
was filled with enthusiasm and delight. His hand flew over the paper,
his smile brightened, his countenance became more radiant. At times
he dictated to himself in a loud, energetic voice, the words which
his flying pen conveyed to the paper, that they might henceforth to
all eternity be indelibly imprinted in the hearts of his readers. But
Schiller was not thinking of his readers, nor of the possible effect
of his words; he thought only of his work. There was no room in his
soul but for poetry, for the sublime and lofty scene which he wished
to add to his tragedy. "Oh," he now exclaimed, his pen speeding like
an arrow over the rustling paper, "oh, could the combined eloquence of
all the thousands who are interested in this lofty hour, but tremble
on my lips, to fan the spark which I feel into a flame! Abandon this
unnatural idolatry that destroys us. Be our model of the eternal and
the true, and--"

A severe and painful cough interrupted the enraptured poet; he was
compelled to discontinue his recitation; the pen faltered in his
quivering hand; and from the sublime realms of the ideal, bodily pain
recalled the poet to reality. He let fall the pen, the arrow which the
gods had bestowed, to enable him to divide the clouds of prejudice and
throw open to enraptured humanity the heaven of poetry,--he let fall
the pen, and raised his hand to his trembling, panting breast.

"How it pains, how it pricks!" he groaned. "Is it not as if the tyrant
Philip had thrust his dagger into the breast of poor Posa, in the anger
of his offended majesty, and--"

Another attack of coughing silenced him, and resounded through the
quiet solitary chamber. The sound struck upon his ear so dismally that
he cast a hasty glance behind him into the gloomy space, as if looking
for the ghost which had uttered such dreary tones.

"If this continues, I am hardly repaid for having fled from my
tyrannical duke," murmured Schiller. "Truly I had better have remained
and served out my poor miserable existence as regimental surgeon, than
cough my life out as a German, that is, as a hungry poet."

But as he said this, his lips quivered, and self-reproach was depicted
in his countenance.

"Be still," he exclaimed, "be still! Shame upon you, Schiller, for
uttering such unmanly, cowardly words! You a poet, Frederick Schiller?
you are not even a man! You aspire to ascend the heights of Parnassus,
and sink down disheartened and discouraged when an evil annoys you
on the way, and admonishes you that you are only a man, a mortal who
aspires to climb to the seat of the gods. If you are a poet, Frederick
Schiller, remember that the gods are watching over you, and that they
will not cruelly abandon you before the goal is half achieved.

"No," he exclaimed in a loud voice, raising his head, and looking
upward, "no, the gods will not abandon me! They will give me strength
and health and a long life, that I may accomplish the task which my
soul and mind and heart tell me is required at my hands. No, Parnassus
stands before me, and I will climb it!" His beaming eye glanced upward
in ecstasy and saw not the low dusty ceiling, the want and indigence
by which he was surrounded. He gazed into immensity; the low ceiling
opened to his view, and through it "he saw the heavens and the
countenance of the blessed!"

A loud noise in the street awakened him from his trance. It was the
watchman blowing his horn and calling the hour in stentorian tones.

"Four o'clock," murmured Schiller, "the night approaches its end!--and
my candle also," he continued, smiling, as he looked at the brass
candlestick, from the upper rim of which the softened tallow was
falling in heavy drops, while the wick had sunk down into the liquid
mass.

Schiller shrugged his shoulders. "It appears that I must stop in the
middle of my grand scene and go to bed. My good friend Streicher has
in vain begged me to do so, through his musical messenger of love; and
now a tallow-candle compels me to do so! What poor, miserable beings we
men are! A trifling, inanimate, material thing has more power over us
than the spirit, and while we oppose the latter we must submit to be
overcome by the former! Therefore to bed, to bed! Farewell, my Posa!
The poor human creature leaves you for a few hours, but the lofty human
mind will soon return to you! Good-night, my Posa!"

The wick of the miserable candle flared up once more and then expired
with a crackling noise in the liquid tallow. "That is as it should be,"
laughed Schiller; "the poet, like the mule, must be able to find his
way in the dark on the verge of an abyss!"

He groped his way through the little room to his bedchamber, and
undressed himself rapidly; and the loud, regular breathing soon
announced that the young poet, Frederick Schiller, was wrapped in
health-giving and refreshing slumber.



CHAPTER II.

THE TRIALS OF LIFE.


Frederick Schiller still slept, although the pale winter sun of
December stood high in the heavens, and the streets of the little city
of Mannheim had long since awakened to new life and activity. Frederick
Schiller still slept, and, worn out by his long vigils, his work, and
his cough, might have slept on for a long time, had he not been aroused
by a loud knocking at the door, and an audible step in the adjoining
room.

A young man stood on the threshold of the bedchamber and wished
Schiller a hearty good-morning.

"I can account for this, Fritz," said he, raising his finger
threateningly--"not into bed at night, not out of bed in the morning!
Did I not send you my watchman as a love-messenger? But he has already
complained to me that it was unavailing."

"Do not be angry, my Andrew," exclaimed Schiller, extending his hand
to his friend with a cordial smile. "A poet must above all things wait
upon the muses submissively, and may not show them the door when they
pay him a visit at an unseemly hour of the night."

"Ah, the nine muses would have been satisfied if you had shown them
out, and had graciously accorded them the privilege of knocking at
your door again this morning! But get up, Fritz! Unfortunately, I have
something of pressing and grave importance to communicate!"

With one bound Frederick Schiller was out of his bed. "Of pressing and
grave importance," he repeated, dressing rapidly, "that sounds very
mystical, Andrew. And now that I look at you, I find that your usually
open brow is clouded. It is no misfortune that you have to announce?"

"No, Fritz, no misfortune, thank God, but a very great annoyance.
Miserable, grovelling poverty once more stretches out its ravenous
claws."

"What is it?" asked Schiller, breathlessly, as he drew the
dressing-gown over his shoulders with trembling hands. "I am now
composed and ready to hear all! Some impatient creditor who wishes to
throw me into prison. Is it not so? Speak it right out, Andrew, without
hesitation."

"Well, then, come with me into the other room. There you shall learn
all," answered Andrew Streicher, taking his friend's hand and throwing
the chamber door open, which he had closed behind him on his entrance.
"Come and see!"

"Mr. Schwelm," exclaimed Schiller, as he observed on crossing the
threshold a gentleman standing in a window-niche, whose countenance
indicated that he was very ill at ease. "Yes, truly, this is my loved
and faithful friend, Oswald Schwelm, from Stuttgart, the literary
godfather of my career as a poet, and--But how mournful you look, dear
Schwelm! and not a single word of friendship for me, no greeting?"

"Ah, Schiller, these are hard times," sighed Oswald Schwelm. "Anxiety
and want have driven me from Stuttgart, and I come to you as a right
unwelcome guest. Only believe that I deplore it deeply myself, but I
cannot help it, and it is not my fault. I would gladly sacrifice every
thing for my friend Schiller, but I have nothing more; and painful
necessity compels me to remind you of the old debt."

"Do not judge him harshly, Schiller," said Streicher, in a low voice.
"Poor Schwelm's difficulties are of a very urgent nature. You know
very well that at a time when no printer could be found to put your
'Robbers' in press, Schwelm guaranteed to the publisher in Stuttgart
the expense incurred in its publication, because he was convinced, as
we all were, that the 'Robbers' would make you a celebrated poet, and
not only insure you a harvest of honor and renown, but also of money.
Now, unfortunately, the money has not yet been harvested, and poor
Oswald Schwelm has had the additional misfortune of losing his capital
by the failure of the commercial house in which it was deposited. Since
then the publisher has dunned him in an outrageous manner, and has even
obtained a warrant for his arrest; and, in order to escape, Schwelm
fled from Stuttgart and came here!"

"Forgive me, friend Schwelm," said Schiller, rushing forward and
embracing the young merchant. "Ah, my dear friends, it seems that you
have mistaken me and my future; it seems that the lofty plans formed in
our youthful days are not to be realized."

"They have already been realized in part," said Schwelm, gently. "You
are a renowned poet; all Germany admires and praises you! The 'Robbers'
has been given on every stage, and--"

"And I have not even three hundred florins," interrupted Schiller,
sadly, "not even a paltry three hundred florins to meet the just
demands of the friend who confided in and gave his bond for me, and
who must now become involved in danger and difficulty on my account."

"Then you have not succeeded in getting the money together?" said
Streicher, mournfully. "I imparted to you two weeks ago the contents
of the letter containing an anxious appeal for help, which Schwelm had
written to me, and you promised to procure the money. Since then I
disliked to speak of the matter again, because I knew you would surely
leave no means untried to raise the amount."

"And I have left no means untried," exclaimed Schiller, with an angry
gesture. "What can I do? No one is willing to lend or advance money on
the pitiful capital of a poet's talent! The few florins which I have
received for the representation of the 'Robbers' and 'Fiesco' have
hardly sufficed to purchase the bare necessities of life; and when I
begged the manager, Mr. von Dalberg, to advance me on 'Louisa Müllerin'
at least three hundred florins, as he had determined to put it on the
stage, he refused me, and I had the mortification of being turned off
by this nobleman like a miserable begging writer."

"And your father," said Andrew Schwelm, timidly. "Did you not say that
you would apply to your father, Major Schiller?"

"I have done so," replied Schiller, with a sigh. "I wrote urgently,
representing my want and troubles, and begging him to have pity on his
poor son, and to lend him a helping hand for this once. But it seems my
words have not had power to touch his paternal heart, for until now I
have in vain awaited a reply on every mail day. And it seems that the
mail which comes from Stuttgart to-day has brought me no letter, for I
believe the hour at which letters are delivered has long since passed.
I must therefore patiently wait another three days for a reply, and
the next mail will perhaps condemn me to another trial of patience.
Oh, my friends, if you could see my heart, if you could estimate the
pain this mortification causes me! For myself, I am ready to suffer
want, to content myself with the bare necessities of life--yes, even to
hunger and thirst, to attain the lofty ends to which I aspire. The path
of a poet has ever been a thorny one, and poverty has always been the
companion of poetry. This I am ready to bear. I do not crave riches;
and even if the tempter should approach in this trying hour and offer
me a million, but with the condition that I should forswear poetry,
and write nothing more for the stage, I would reject the million with
contempt, and a thousand times prefer to remain a poor poet than become
a rich idler. But to see you, my friends, in trouble and suffering on
my account, and powerless to relieve you, is truly bitter, and--"

"The letter-carrier," exclaimed Streicher joyfully, as, after a timid
knock, the door was softly opened, and a man in the uniform of the
Thurn and Taxis post-office officials entered the room.

"A letter from Ludwigsburg. Ten kreutzers postage," said the carrier,
holding out a large sealed letter.

"Ten kreutzers," murmured Schiller, as he nervously fumbled in the
pockets of his dressing-gown and then in the table-drawer.

"Here are the ten kreutzers, in case you should not happen to have the
small change," said Streicher, hastily, as he handed the carrier the
money and received the letter. "And here it is, friend Schiller. Is it
from your father?"

"Yes, my friends, it is from him. And may the gods have been graciously
inclined, and have opened my father's heart to his son's prayer!"

He hastily tore off the cover and threw open the large folded sheet.
"Alas, my friends," he sighed, "it is a very long letter, and that
bodes no good, for he who gives says but little, but he who denies
clothes his refusal in many prettily-turned phrases. Let me read!"

A few moments of silence followed. Schiller, seated on his chair,
his arm resting on the table, was reading his father's letter, while
Andrew Streicher and Oswald Schwelm were standing opposite him, in the
window-niche, regarding him anxiously and inquiringly. They saw that
Schiller's brow grew darker and darker; that his cheek became paler;
and that the corners of his mouth quivered, as they always did when the
poet's soul was moved with anger or pain.

"Read, Andrew," said Schiller, handing the letter to Andrew Streicher,
after a long silence. "Read my father's letter aloud, that you may both
know what I have to expect; that you may perceive that I am nothing but
a poor, miserable dreamer, in whom no one believes, not even his own
father, and who must be awakened from his illusions by harsh words.
Andrew, read the lecture addressed by my father to his miserable son.
To hear these unhappy words from your lips will serve as a penance, and
may perhaps have the effect of bringing you to the conclusion that my
father is right in giving me up. Read it, Streicher."

Streicher took the proffered letter and read aloud:

"'/My Son/!--Here I sit with his letter before me, and its perusal has
provoked tears of displeasure. I have long since foreseen his present
position, the foundation of which has already been laid in Stuttgart. I
have faithfully warned him against it, given him the best advice, and
cautioned him against expending any thing over his income, and thereby
involving himself in debts, which are very readily made, but not so
easily paid. I gave him an adequate outfit upon leaving the academy.
To give him a start in the world, our gracious duke gave him for his
services what, together with the little his parents were able to do
for him from day to day, would have been an ample support for him as
an unmarried man. But all these advantages, all my teachings, and all
hopes of better prospects here, have been able to effect nothing. He
has combated all my reasons, made light of my experience and of the
experience of others, and has only listened to such counsels as would
inevitably insure his destruction. God in His wisdom and goodness
could choose no other way to bring him to a knowledge of himself than
by sending this affliction to convince him that all our intellect
and power, all reliance upon other men, and upon accidental and happy
contingencies, are for the most part vain, foolish, and fallacious, and
that it is He alone who helps all those who pray to Him earnestly and
patiently.'"

"As if I had not done so!" interrupted Schiller. "As if I had not
besought the great Ruler of the destinies of men, in deep fervor and
humility of soul, to cast a ray of enlightening grace upon the head of
him who had believed it to be his duty to follow the divine call of
poetry, and who for its own sake had joyfully relinquished all other
earthly prospects and hopes! But my fervid prayers were in vain; no
ray of mercy has illumined my poor, gloomy chamber; and from God and
man alike the poet receives an angry refusal, and is dismissed as a
beggar!--Read on, Streicher! I will drink the cup of bitterness to the
dregs; not a single drop of gall shall remain untasted. Read on, my
friend!"

"But, Frederick," said Streicher, in a tender, imploring voice, "why
impose upon yourself and us the penance of reading these hard words?
Your father means well with you undoubtedly. He is a good and honorable
man, but from his stand-point the world has a different appearance than
from that of the heights of Parnassus. He estimates you by an ordinary
scale, and that is not adapted to Frederick Schiller. That your father
will not furnish you the required three hundred florins was evident
from the commencement of the letter, and that suffices."

"No, that is not enough," exclaimed Schiller, earnestly. "You shall
know what my own father thinks of me, that you may be under no more
illusions concerning me, and not have to reproach me some day with
having infected you with my fantasies, and held out hopes that would
never be realized. I beg you, therefore, to read on. It seems as if
the scorching words of paternal anger might in some degree expiate the
criminality of my conduct. Read!"

"Well, Fritz, if you insist upon it, I will do so," sighed Streicher;
and in a loud voice he resumed the reading: "'He has not been humbled
by all the chastening administered to him since his departure,
and experience only has made him wiser. That he has suffered from
intermittent fever for eight entire months, does no credit to his
professional studies; and in the same case he would certainly have
bitterly reproached a patient for not having followed instructions in
regard to diet and mode of living. Man is not always dependent upon
circumstances, or he would be a mere machine. My dear son has never
striven with himself, and it is highly improper and sinful to throw
the responsibility of his not having done so upon his education in the
academy. Many young men have grown up in this institution who demanded
and received as little assistance, and they are now doing well, and are
much esteemed and provided for. How does he suppose we poor parents
feel when we reflect that these troubles would not have overtaken
him, that we would have been spared a thousand cares on his account,
and that he would certainly have achieved what he sought if he had
remained here? In brief, he would have been happier, more contented,
and more useful in his day and generation, if he had been satisfied to
pursue a medium course in life, and had not aspired to take so high
a flight. Nor is it necessary that a superior talent should be made
manifest outwardly, at least not until the benefits accruing from its
exercise can be shown and proven, and it can be said, "These are the
fruits of diligence and intelligence." Pastor Hahn and Pastor Fulda are
both great men, and are visited by all travelling scholars, and yet
they look like other men. As for the three hundred florins, I must say
that this demand has excited my great displeasure. I have never given
him cause to think, "My father can and will rescue me when I become
involved in difficulties." And he knows himself that I have three
other children, none of whom are provided for, and from whom much has
already been withheld on his account. On his prospects, hopes, plans,
and promises, I can advance nothing, as I have already been so badly
deceived. Even if it were possible to place some faith in them, I could
not raise the money; for, although I am known as an honest man, my
financial condition, and the amount of my salary, are also well known;
and it is evident that I would not be able to pay a debt of from two to
three hundred florins out of my income. I can do nothing but pray for
my son! His faithful father, /Schiller/.'"[1]

"Can do nothing but pray and scold," exclaimed Schiller, emphatically.
"There you see what an unworthy, trifling fellow I am. All the
hopes which my family and friends entertained for me, yes, which I
entertained for myself and my talents, are blighted, dissolved in smoke
like burning straw. Nothing real is left but the burden of my debts,
and my poverty. My good Oswald, you have had the weakness to believe
in me, and to accept a draft on my future. To your own detriment, you
must now perceive that this draft is worthless, and that my father was
right in reproaching me for having had the temerity to attempt to make
a German poet out of a Wurtemberg regimental surgeon."

"Do not speak so, Frederick Schiller," exclaimed Streicher,
indignantly. "Your words are blasphemous; and all Germany would be
angry with you if it heard them!"

"But all Germany would take good care not to pay my debts. While I,
in holy and true disinterestedness, am ready to consecrate my whole
being to the service of my country, and to devote all the powers of my
mind and talents to its benefit, its instruction and entertainment,
if I should demand of the German nation that it should also bring me
an offering, that each individual who had read and seen my tragedies
should give me a groschen, each one would deny that he had ever seen
or read them, and, with a shrug of his shoulders, would turn from the
beggar who had the temerity to require any thing of the public but its
applause and its momentary delight. My friends, I am very miserable,
for you must know that this is not the only large debt which troubles
me. There were other noble souls who had confidence in my success, and
allowed themselves to be bribed by 'The Robbers.' My noble friend,
Madame von Wolzogen, who gave the homeless one an asylum on her estate
in Bauerbach, when he had fled from Ludwigsburg, did more than this.
When, after a sojourn of seven months in her beautiful Tusculum, I
marched out into the world again, she loaned me two hundred florins,
which I solemnly promised to return in a year. The year has expired,
my noble friend depends on this sum to make a necessary payment on a
mortgage which is attached to her estate, and I am not able to keep my
word. I must expect her to consider me a swindler who has cheated her
with empty promises!"

"No, Madame von Wolzogen will not think so, for she knows you,"
exclaimed Streicher, indignantly.

"She will be as far from thinking so as I am," said Oswald Schwelm,
gently. "It is not your fault that you are in pecuniary difficulties;
the blame does not attach to you, but to the German public, to the
German nation, which allows its poets to suffer want, even while
enraptured with their works. The German people are prodigal with
laurels and wreaths, but cannot be taught that laurels do not sustain
life, and that wreaths are of no avail to the poet if they do not also
prepare a home for him, where he can await the muses at his ease, and
rest on his laurels. Ah, Frederick Schiller, when I see how you, one
of the noblest of poets, are tormented by the want of a paltry sum of
money, my eyes fill with tears of compassion, not for you, but for
the German fatherland, which disowns its most exalted sons, while it
worships the foreigner and gives a warm reception to every stranger
charlatan who condescends to come and pocket German money for his
hackneyed performances."

"No, no," said Schiller, hastily. "You must not abuse and condemn the
object of my highest and holiest love. As a true son never reviles his
mother, even when he believes that she has been unjust to him, so the
true son of Germany must never scold his sublime mother, but must love
her tenderly and endearingly, even if she should accord him nothing but
a cradle and a grave. As we say, 'what God does is well done,' we must
also say what Germania does is well done. And believe me, my friends,
if I truly deserve it, and if, as you say, and I hope, I am really a
poet, the German fatherland will smile upon me, and give me the bread
of life for the manna of poetry. Men will not let him die of hunger to
whom the gods have given the kiss of immortality."

"Amen," said Streicher, with a slight touch of derision.

"Yes, amen," repeated Schiller, smiling. "It was well, friend Oswald,
that you awakened the patriot in me by your indignation in my
behalf, for the patriot has helped me to overlook my little earthly
necessities. My friends, be patient and indulgent with me. Better times
are coming, and if I am really a poet the gods will take pity on me,
and a day of recognition and renown will also come! To be sure, I have
nothing to offer you at present but hope. The draft on the future is
all I can give you, my good Oswald, for the money you loaned me."

"This draft is, in my eyes, the most beautiful coin," said Oswald
Schwelm, heartily, "and truly it is not your fault that my hard-hearted
creditor cannot take the same view of the matter, but demands payment
for the publication of 'The Robbers.' Well, we will speak of it no
more. Forgive me, Schiller, for having caused you disquiet by coming
here. But, as I said before, I did not think of the ingratitude of
the German fatherland, but only of the German poet who had given it
'The Robbers,' 'Fiesco,' and 'Louise Müllerin;' and I hoped that
applause had made him rich. Give me your hand, Schiller, and let us say
farewell."

"And what will you do, my poor friend?" asked Schiller, feelingly.
"Will you return to Stuttgart, where the hard-hearted creditor awaits
you?"

"No, no," answered Oswald, "I will not return to Stuttgart, for the
warrant of arrest would hang over my head like the sword of Damocles!
I will go to Carlsruhe, where I have an old uncle, and will endeavor
to soften his heart. Do not trouble yourself about me, my friend; and
may your cheerfulness and the creative power of the poet not for a
single moment be darkened by the remembrance of me! We prosaic sons of
humanity are often aided by accident, and find some little avenue of
escape from the embarrassments of life, while you poets march through
the grand portals into the temple of fame, where you are more exposed
to the attacks of enemies. Farewell, friend Schiller, and may great
Jupiter ever be with you!"

"Adieu, friend Schwelm!" said Schiller, extending his hand and gazing
sadly at his kind, open countenance. "You assume to be gay, in order
to hide your anxiety; but I see through the veil which friendship and
the goodness of your heart have prompted you to assume, and behind it I
detect a careworn, anxious look. Oh, my friends, I am a poor man, and
am only worthy of commiseration; and it is all in vain that I endeavor
to arm myself against a knowledge of this fact."

"No, you are a great and enviable man," exclaimed Streicher, with
enthusiasm. "Of that we are all assured, and you also shall become
convinced of it. You are ascending the mountain which leads to renown,
and, although now enveloped in a cloud, you will at last attain the
heights above, and be surrounded with a halo of sunshine and glory."

"I wish, my friend," said Schiller, pointing with a sad smile to the
ashes in the stove, "I wish we had some of this sunshine now, and were
not compelled to warm the room with such expensive coals. But patience,
patience! You are right, Andrew, I am ascending a mountain, and am now
in a cloud, and therefore it is not surprising that I feel chilly and
uncomfortable. But better times are coming, and my health will improve,
and this bad cough and fever will no longer retard my footsteps, and
I will be able to mount aloft to the abode of the gods with more rapid
strides. Farewell, my friends! My writing-table seems to regard me
with astonishment, as if asking why I have not brought it my customary
ovation."

"Let it look and inquire," said Streicher. "You must make no reply, but
must first break your fast, as any other honest man would do. Come and
breakfast with us at the inn, Frederick. A man must eat, and, although
I unfortunately have not enough money to satisfy this Cerberus of a
creditor, I have at least enough to pay for a breakfast and a glass of
wine for us three. Come, Frederick, get yourself ready quickly, and let
us tread the earth with manly footsteps, and compel it to recognize us
as its lords."

"No, you good, thoughtless man of the world," said Schiller, smiling;
"no, I must remain here! I must work on at 'Don Carlos,' who gives my
mind no rest by day or night, and insists on being completed!"

"But promise me, at least, Fritz, that you will breakfast before you go
to work?"

"I promise you! Now go, Andrew, for the good Schwelm is already holding
the door open, and waiting for you."



CHAPTER III.

HENRIETTA VON WOLZOGEN.


"Breakfast," murmured Schiller, after his two friends had taken leave
of him. "Oh, yes, it were certainly no bad idea to indulge in a hot cup
of coffee and fresh sweet rolls. But it costs too much, and one must
be contented if one can only have a cup of fresh water and a piece of
bread."

He stood up and returned to the chamber, to complete the toilet so
hastily made before, to adjust his hair, and put on the sober,
well-worn suit which constituted alike his work-day and holiday attire.

After having finished his toilet, Schiller took the pitcher, which
stood on a tin waiter by the side of a glass, and bounded gayly down
the stairway into the large courtyard and to the fountain, to fill his
pitcher at the mouth of the tragic mask from which a stream of water
constantly gushed.

This was Schiller's first morning errand. Every morning the people
in the house could see the pale, thin young man go to the fountain
with his pitcher; and it amused them to watch him as he walked up and
down the yard with long strides, looking heavenward, his head thrown
back, and his chest expanded with the fresh morning air, which he
inhaled in long draughts. Then, when he had stretched and exercised his
limbs, breathed the air, and looked at the heavens, he returned to the
fountain, took up his pitcher, running over with water, ran into the
house, up the stairway, and re-entered his dingy little room.

But he brought the heavens and the fresh morning air with him, and his
soul was gladdened and strengthened for his poetic labors.

To-day the fresh air had done him much good; and, after he had drunk
his first glass of water, and eaten his bread and butter, which he took
from a closet in the wall, he looked pleased and comfortable; a smile
glided over his features, and his eyes brightened.

"How rich is he who has few wants," he said softly to himself, "and
how freely the spirit soars when its wings are unencumbered with the
vanities of life! Come, ye Muses and Graces, keep a loving watch around
my table, and guide my hand that I may write nothing that does not
please you!"

He threw himself on the chair before the table, took up his pen,
rapidly read what he had last written, and with a few strokes finished
the last great scene of the third act of his new tragedy, "Don Carlos."

"Und jetzt verlaszt mich!"[2] recited Schiller, as his pen flew over
the paper; and then he continued, in a changed voice: "Kann ich es mit
einer erfüllten Hoffnung,--dann ist dieser Tag der schönste meines
Lebens!" And then he added, in the first voice: "Er ist kein verlorener
in dem meinigem!"

"Yes," exclaimed Schiller, in a loud voice, as he threw his pen aside,
"and it is not a lost one in mine. At some future day I will think of
this hour with joy and satisfaction--of the hour in which I wrote the
closing scene of the third act of a tragedy, a dramatist's greatest
and most difficult task. Oh, ye Muses and Graces, whom I invoked, were
you near me, blessing my labors? I laid my human sacrifice of pain
and suffering on your altar this morning, and my poor head once more
received the baptism of tears. Bless me with your favor, ye Muses and
Graces, and let me hope that the tears of the man were the baptism of
the poet! Yes, my soul persuades me that I am a poet; and this new work
will attest it before the world and mankind, and--"

A cry of surprise and dismay escaped his lips, and he stared toward the
door which had just been opened, and in which a lady appeared who was
completely wrapped up in furs, and whose face was entirely shaded by a
hood.

"Madame von Wolzogen," he exclaimed, rising quickly. "Is it possible?
Can it be you?" He rushed forward and seized her hand, and when he
encountered her mournful gaze he sank on his knees and wept bitterly.

"Oh, my friend, my mother, that we should meet under such
circumstances! That I should be compelled to throw myself at your feet
in shame and penitence!"

"And why, Schiller?" asked Madame von Wolzogen, in her soft, kindly
voice. "Why must you throw yourself at my feet, and why this penitence?
Be still. Do not reply yet, my poor child. First, hear me! My only
reason in coming here was to see you. It seemed impossible, unnatural,
that I should pass through Mannheim without seeing my friend, my son,
my Frederick Schiller! My sister, who lives in Meiningen, has suddenly
fallen ill, and has called me to her bedside. Well, I am answering her
call; for no one has ever appealed to Henrietta von Wolzogen in vain. I
have ridden all night, and will soon resume my journey. The carriage is
waiting for me at the corner. I inquired my way to Schiller's dwelling;
and here I am, and I wish to know, Frederick Schiller, what this
silence means, and why you have not written to me for so long a time?
That I must know; and I am only here for the purpose of putting this
one question: Schiller, have you forgotten your friends in Bauerbach?
have you forgotten me, who was your friend and your mother?"

"No, no," he cried, rising and throwing his arms tenderly around Madame
von Wolzogen's neck, and pressing her to his heart. "No, how could I
forget your goodness, your generosity, and friendship? But can you not
comprehend, my friend, why your arrival could have a terrible effect on
me--could bring me to the verge of despair?"

"Only see how the poetic flame bursts forth when we prosaic people ask
a practical question--when we have to remind poets that, unfortunately,
we are not fed upon ambrosia falling from heaven! But I imagined that
my wild boy would be once more tearing his own flesh, and terribly
dissatisfied with his destiny. And I am here, Schiller, to tell you
that you must think better of me and better of yourself, and not
confound noble friendship with ignoble gold, which shrewd people call
the mainspring of life, but which is, fortunately, not the mainspring
of friendship, and--"

"Oh, my friend, if you knew--"

"Silence! The philippic which I had time to prepare at my leisure
during my night ride, and which I am determined to inflict upon the
capricious and wayward boy, if not upon the man, is not yet ended. Is
it possible that your heart could be forgetful of and untrue to the
past? And why? Because his poor motherly friend has written him in
confidence that she would be glad if he would return at least a part of
the sum of money she had loaned him. And what is his reply? Nothing,
nothing at all! He throws his friend's letter into the fire, and--"

"Into the fire of his anguish, of his reproaching conscience,"
interrupted Schiller, passionately. "He was silent, because it wrung
his heart to stand even for a moment in the category of those who
had defrauded you. Oh, my dear friend, toward whom I feel drawn as a
loving, obedient son, consider in your sensitive woman's heart if the
thought of breaking my faith and becoming a traitor to you was not
calculated to drive me to desperation! Confiding in my honesty, you
loaned me a considerable sum of money, the more considerable as you
were not rich, and were yourself compelled to borrow the money from a
Jew. I solemnly promised to return the borrowed sum within the course
of a year. The year has expired, the Jew urges payment; and now,
when you gently remind me of my promise, I feel with shame and rage
that I have broken my word, and acted dishonorably toward you; and,
therefore--oh, out upon contemptible, cowardly human nature, which
dares not look its own weakness in the face!--and therefore I was
silent. How often did my heart prompt me, in my distress of mind, to
fly to your friendship for relief! but the painful consciousness of my
inability to comply with your request and pay my debt, held me back. My
powerlessness to meet your just demand made the thought of you, which
had ever been a source of joy, a positive torment. Whenever your image
appeared, the picture of my misery rose up before me. I feared to write
to you, because I had nothing to write but the eternal: 'Have patience
with me!'"[3]

He laid his head on Madame von Wolzogen's lap and sobbed; but with
gentle force she compelled him to rise.

"Stand up, Schiller; hold your head erect. It does not beseem you to
despair and complain like other poor, suffering children of humanity.
You, who are marching upward to Parnassus, should tread under foot the
vermin of earthly cares."

"But this vermin does not lie at my feet, but is in my brain, and will
drive me mad if this goes on! But I must tell you, you must know the
truth: it is impossible for me to pay you any part of my debt. Oh,
it is hard to say these words; nevertheless, I must not be ashamed,
for it is destiny. One is not to be deemed culpable because one is
unfortunate."[4]

"And one is not unhappy because one has no money," said Madame von
Wolzogen, smiling. "One is only retarded and checked, like the fiery
young steed, impatient to bound madly over the plain and dash up the
mountain, but prevented by the tightly-drawn reins. But, my friend,
this need cause you no unhappiness. With the strength of brave
determination, and the energy of creative power, you will break the
reins, liberate yourself, and soar aloft. Even the winged Pegasus bears
restraint, and must suffer it; but the poet, who holds and guides the
reins, is free--free to mount aloft on his winged steed. And as he
soars higher and higher, the earth, with its want and distress, grows
less and less distinct. Then look upward, friend Schiller, upward to
Parnassus, where golden renown and immortality await you!"

"Words, beautiful words!" exclaimed Schiller. "Oh, there was a time
when the hope of renown was a source of as intense delight to me as
an article of jewelry is to a young girl. Now, I am indifferent to
every thing. I am willing to serve up my laurels in the next 'boeuf
à la mode,' and to resign my tragic muse to your dairy-maid, if
you keep cows.[5] How pitiable is a poet's renown, compared with a
happy life! And I am so unhappy that I would willingly exchange all
my expectations of future renown for a valid check for one hundred
thousand florins, and--"

"Be silent!" exclaimed Madame von Wolzogen, imperiously. "You slander
yourself. Thank God, these utterances do not come from your heart, but
from your lips; and that the blasphemies which anger provokes are in
a language known and understood only by your fantasy, and not by your
mind! I told you before, that it did not beseem you to grovel in the
dust. But now I say: Down on your knees, Frederick Schiller, on your
knees, and pray to your own genius for forgiveness for the words which
you have just spoken."

"Forgiveness," groaned Schiller, falling on his knees. "I beg
forgiveness of you, my friend, my mother. I am a criminal--am like
Peter, who in the hour of trial denied his Lord and Saviour--and
reviled that which is greatest and holiest on earth. Be indulgent, have
patience with me! Better times will come! The foaming and fomenting
juice of the grape will clear, and become the rich, fiery wine which
refreshes and makes glad. No, I do not despair of my future, and you
who love me shall not do so either, and--"

"We do not," said Madame von Wolzogen, smiling. "You are a wonderful
man! You are like the changing skies in storm and sunshine--first
threatening clouds, then celestial blue; before anger and despair, now
joy and hope. And this, my dear young friend, is the best evidence that
you are truly a poet; and if you had not known it already, this hour
should assure you of the fact. I, however, Frederick Schiller, have
never doubted either your genius or yourself; and I have come to tell
you this, and dissipate the dark cloud that was forming between two
friends.--No, Frederick, we will not permit the sun of our friendship
to be darkened. We must be honest, true, and sincere to one another;
but we must not be silent and withhold a word of sympathy whenever
one of us cannot grant what the other requires. I know that you are
embarrassed and in want; and notwithstanding all my friendship, I
cannot aid you. You know that the Jew Israel demands the sum which I
borrowed of him; and it is not in your power to return it, although it
is very inconvenient for me, and very painful to you. But shall we,
because we are needy, make ourselves poor also? Shall we, because we
have no money, have no friendship either?"

"No, my dear, my great, my good lady," exclaimed Schiller, his
countenance radiant with joy. "No, we will strengthen and console
ourselves with friendship, and it must compensate us for all else. Oh,
how poor and needy one would be in the possession of millions, without
love and friendship! I, however, am rich, for I have dear friends--"

"And have, perhaps, besides friends, the precious treasure of a
sweetheart? Oh, Schiller, how very prettily you blush, and how
conscious you look. In love--once more in love! But in love with whom,
my poet, with one or with two? And is the dear one's name Margaret, or
Charlotte, or Laura, or--"

"Enough, enough," cried Schiller, laughing, "the dear one's name is
Love, and I seek her everywhere, and think I find her in every noble
and beautiful female face that wears the smile of innocence and the
dignity of beauty, that meets my gaze. My heart is thrown open to
permit Love to enter as a victorious queen, and take possession of
the throne of beauty which I have erected in its sanctuary at the
side of the altar of friendship, on which you reign supreme, my dear
Madame Wolzogen, my second mother! Ah, how I thank you for having
come! Your loving hand has removed from my soul the load of shame and
humiliation, and I once more feel light and free; and I can now speak
to you about these disagreeable money matters with calmness. No, no,
do not forbid me, my dear lady, but let me speak on. Listen! I have
been sick throughout almost the entire past year. Gnawing disquiet
and uncertainty in regard to my prospects have retarded my recovery.
This alone is the reason why so many of my plans have miscarried, and
I have not been able to work and earn as much as I hoped. But I have
now marked out my future course after mature consideration. And, if
I am not disturbed on my way, my future is secured. I am putting my
affairs in order and will soon be in a condition to pay all my debts.
I only require a little time, until my plans begin to work. If I am
hampered now, I am hampered forever. This week I will commence editing
a journal, the _Rhenish Thalia_. It will be published by subscription;
and a helping hand has been extended to me from many places. The
journal will be a success, and I shall derive from it a certain income
which will be sufficient for my support. From the proceeds of my
theatrical pieces I shall be able to pay off my debts by degrees, and
above all, my debt to you, my friend. I solemnly promise to pay you
the entire amount, in instalments, by the end of next year, and I will
make out three drafts which shall certainly be honored when due. Do not
smile incredulously, my dear lady, but depend upon my assurances. I am
certain that God will give me health to attain this noble aim."[6]

"My friend," said Madame Wolzogen, with emotion, "may God give you
health and strength, not to enable you to pay this little debt, but
to enable you to pay the great debt you owe the world! For the world
requires of you that you use the great capital of poetry and mind
with which God has intrusted you, as the talent which shall bear
interest to the joy of mankind and your own honor and renown. It is
a high and difficult calling for which God has chosen you. You must
march in advance of humanity as its poet and priest, proclaiming and
sympathizing with its sorrows and sufferings, and awakening that
enthusiasm which leads to action and promotes happiness. Ever keep
your noble ends in view, my friend, and when the little cares of life
annoy you, disregard them, as the lion does the insects that fly
around his head, and which he could destroy with a single blow of his
paw, did he deem it worth the trouble. And now that we have come to
an understanding, and know what we are and intend to remain to each
other, and as my time has expired, I must leave you, for my sister is
awaiting me. Farewell, Frederick! Give me your hand once more, and now,
hand in hand, let us vow true friendship, that friendship which is
never dumb, but imparts to the sister soul its joys and sorrows."

"So let it be," said Schiller, earnestly. "In joy and in sorrow I will
ever turn to you, my friend, and second mother; and I now beg you
never to doubt me. You were, are now, and always will be, equally dear
to my heart. I can never be faithless to you, although circumstances
and fate might make me appear so outwardly. Never withdraw your love
from me. You must and will learn to know me well, and you will then,
perhaps, love me a little better. Let nothing impair a friendship so
pure, sealed under the eye of God.[7] And be assured I will always love
you with the tenderness of a son, although you would not permit me to
become your son. I do not reproach you, because I knew you were right.
I am at the starting-point of my career, and dare not yet stretch out
my hand after the woman I love!"

Henrietta von Wolzogen laid her hand on Schiller's shoulder and looked
smilingly into his large blue eyes.

"After the woman you love?" she whispered. "You, dear boy, admit that
the woman you love has not yet been found, and that for the present
your heart is playing blind-man's-buff with all the pretty young women?
For instance, my daughter Charlotte is almost forgotten, because
the beautiful Madame Vischerin has such lovely eyes and converses
so agreeably. Then we have Margaret Schwan, who Schiller would now
certainly love to the exclusion of all others, if, fortunately or
unfortunately, Madame Charlotte von Kalb had not been sojourning
in Mannheim for the last few weeks. She is certainly not exactly
beautiful, but then she has such eyes; eyes that glow like a crater
of passion, and her words are flaming rockets of enthusiasm. This, of
course, charms the young poet; he stands hesitating between Margaret
and Charlotte; and will at last, because he does not know whether to
turn to the right or to the left, walk straight on, and look farther
for the lady of his love. Farewell, Schiller, you faithful friend, you
faithful lover! Farewell!"

And waving her hand as a last adieu, Madame von Wolzogen left the room.
Schiller cast a confused and troubled look after her.

"Can she be right?" he murmured. "Have I really a heart that only
seizes upon an object to relax its hold again? Where is the solution of
this enigma? Have I ever loved, and is my heart so fickle that it can
hold fast to nothing?"

He walked to and fro in his little room with great strides, his brow
clouded and his eyes looking inward, endeavoring to unravel the
mysteries of his heart.

"No," he said, after a pause. "No, I am not fickle. To her who
loved me I would hold firmly in love for ever and ever. But here is
the difficulty! I have never found a woman who could or would love
me. My heart longs for this sweet interchange of thought; and new
sources of happiness and enthusiasm would be opened to me if this
ardently-wished-for woman would but appear! It seems the poor, ugly,
and awkward Frederick Schiller is not worthy of such happiness,
and must be contented with having had a modest view of love in the
distance, like Moses of the promised land, without ever having entered
its holy temple."

With a sigh, Schiller threw himself in the chair before the table and
covered his quivering face with his hands. But he soon let them fall,
and shook his head with an energetic movement.

"Away with sensitiveness!" said he, almost angrily, "I must accustom
myself to be happy on earth without happiness. And if I have no
sweetheart, I have friends who love me, and the friendship of a noble
soul can well console me for the denied love of a perhaps fickle heart.
For he who can call but one soul on earth his friend is blessed, and
sits at the round-table of the gods. My poor Posa, I will learn from
you, and will infuse into you my own feelings. You had but one friend
on earth, and the love you could give to no woman you bestowed upon
humanity, upon your people. I also will open my heart to humanity, and
one woman I will love above all others, and her name shall be Germania!
I will serve her, and belong to her, and love her as long as I live.
Hear my vow, ye Muses and gods! Germania is my love. I will be her poet
and her servant; on bended knees I will worship her; I will raise her
to the skies, and never falter in my devotion, for to her belong the
holiest impulses of heart and soul alike. And now, Frederick Schiller,
be resolute, be strong and joyful. You are Germania's lover and her
son. Determine to do what is good and great, throughout your lifetime,
to her honor and renown! Take up the pen, Frederick Schiller! The pen
is the sword with which you must fight and conquer!"

He took the pen and held it aloft; his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm,
and on his smiling lips a silent prayer trembled.

The deep silence was again unbroken, save by the rustling of the pen as
it glided over the paper. The Muses gathered round the poet and smiled
on his labors.



CHAPTER IV.

JOY AND SORROW.


How long he had sat there and written he knew not, he only knew that
these had been happy moments of action and creation; that his heart had
been full of bliss and his soul overflowing with enthusiasm, and that
this high thought had found expression in words. He felt that, like a
god, he was creating human beings who lived, moved, and suffered before
him. But alas! he was doomed to descend from the serene heights of
poetry to the dusty earth; the cares of life were about to recall him
from the bright sphere of poetical visions.

His door was violently thrown open, and Oswald Schwelm rushed in, pale
and breathless.

"Help me, for God's sake, Schiller! Hide me! I have recognized him! He
has just turned into this street, followed by two constables."

"Who? Of whom do you speak? Who pursues you?" exclaimed Schiller,
bounding from his seat.

"The hard-hearted creditor from Stuttgart. Some one has advised him
that I have come to Mannheim, and he has followed me with his warrant,
determined to arrest me here. Of this I felt assured when I saw him
accompanied by the two constables: but, hoping that I had not been
perceived, I ran hastily to your room, and now, Schiller, I implore you
to rescue me from my pursuers, from my unmerciful creditor; to preserve
my freedom and protect me from arrest."

"That I will do," said Schiller, with an air of determination and
defiance: and he stood erect and held up his hand as if threatening the
invisible enemy. "You shall suffer no more on my account; you shall not
be robbed of your freedom."

"Be still, my friend! I think I hear steps and whispering voices
outside the door. Hide me! for God's sake, hide me, or--"

Too late! too late! The door is opened and the cruel creditor enters,
accompanied by two constables.

Schiller uttered a cry of rage, sprang like a chafed lion at the
intruder, caught hold of him, shook him, and pressed him back to the
door.

"What brings you here, sir? How can you justify this intrusion? how
dare you cross this threshold without my permission?"

To the stormy questions addressed to him by Schiller, with a
threatening look and knitted brow, the man replied by a mute gesture
toward the two constables, who, with a grave official air, were walking
toward Oswald Schwelm, who had retired to the farthest corner of the
room.

"Mr. Oswald Schwelm, we arrest you in the name of the Superior Court
of Mannheim, by virtue of this warrant, made out by the judicial
authorities in Stuttgart; and transferred, at the request of Mr.
Richard, to the jurisdiction of the authorities in Mannheim. By virtue
of the laws of this city we command you to follow us without offering
any resistance whatsoever."

"You have heard it, Mr. Schiller," said the printer Richard,
emphatically. "I have a perfect right to enter this room to arrest my
debtor."

"No, bloodsucker!" cried Schiller, stamping the floor with his foot.
"No, you have not the right. You are a barbarian, for you desire to
deprive a man of his liberty of whom you know that he owes you nothing!"

"He made himself responsible for the payment of a sum of three hundred
florins; the sum is due, and Mr. Schwelm must either pay or go to
prison."

"God help me!" cried Schiller, trembling with anger, and deathly pale
with agitation. "Give me patience that I may not crush this monster
in my righteous indignation. I will be calm and humble, I will beg
and implore, for something high and noble is at stake, the liberty of
a man! Be tranquil, friend Schwelm; this man shall not carry out his
base intention, he shall not arrest you here in my room. This room is
my house, my castle, and no one shall violate its sanctity. Out with
you, you cruel creditor, ye minions of the law! You can stand before my
door and await your prey like blood-hounds, but you shall not lay hands
on this noble game until it leaves this sanctuary and crosses this
threshold. Out with you, I say! If you love life, leave quickly. Do you
not see that I am filled with the holy wrath of outraged humanity? Do
you not feel that my hands will destroy you if you do not go, and go
instantly?"

He threw up his arms, and clinched his fists; and, his eyes flaming,
and his angry countenance beautiful with inward agitation, he was about
to rush upon the men who had taken hold of Oswald Schwelm, and now
looked on in confusion and terror. But Oswald Schwelm had, in the mean
while, liberated himself from their grasp, and now seized Schiller's
arm and held him back, gently entreating him to let the law take its
course and leave him to his fate. He then turned to the officers and
begged them to forget Mr. Schiller's offensive words, uttered in anger;
he admitted that they were perfectly in the right, and he was ready to
yield to stern necessity and accompany them.

As Oswald Schwelm approached the door, Schiller thrust him back,
exclaiming in loud and threatening tones: "I will permit no one to pass
this threshold. If you will not leave without him, you shall all remain
here; and my room, the room of a German poet, shall be the prison of
the noble German man, who is guilty of nothing but--"

"But not having paid the money he owes me," interposed Mr. Richard,
"the money which he should have paid a year ago. Since then he has been
continually putting me off with empty promises and evasions. I am tired
of all this, will put up with it no longer, and am determined to resort
to extreme measures. Officers of the law, do your duty, arrest this
man, and pay no attention to the boastful words of Mr. Schiller. He is
a poet, and poets are not so particular in their words. One must just
let them talk on without heeding what they say! Forward now, forward!"

"No, no, Oswald," cried Schiller, trembling with anger. "Come to me,
Oswald, hold fast to me. They shall never tear you from my side. No,
never!--no, never!"

"What is going on here, who uttered that cry?" asked a loud, manly
voice, and the broad, well-conditioned body of a man who was plainly
dressed, and whose face wore an expression of good-nature and
kindliness, appeared in the doorway.

"Herr Hölzel," exclaimed Schiller, with relief. "My landlord, God sends
you to our aid!"

"What's the matter? What can I do?" asked Hölzel. "I came down from the
floor above, and in passing your door I heard a noise and disturbance,
and my Mr. Schiller cry out. 'Well,' thinks I, 'I must go in and see
what's going on.'"

"And I will reply--I will tell you what is going on, my dear Hölzel,"
said Schiller, with flashing eyes. "We have here an unmerciful creditor
and rude minions of the law, who dare to enter my room in pursuit
of a friend who has fled to me from Stuttgart for help; to me who
am the miserable cause of all his misfortunes. Good Oswald Schwelm
pledged himself to make good the payment of three hundred florins to
the printer who printed my first work, 'The Robbers.' At that time we
anticipated brilliant success; we dreamed that 'The Robbers' was a
golden seed from which a rich harvest would be gathered. We have erred,
and my poor friend here is now called upon to pay for his error with
his freedom."

"But he shall not," said Mr. Hölzel, with vivacity, as he laid his
broad hand on Schiller's shoulder. "I will not suffer it; your good
friend shall have made no miscalculations. Now, Mr. Schiller, you
know very well how fond I am of 'The Robbers,' and that I see the
piece whenever it is given here in Mannheim, and cry my eyes out over
Iffland, when he does Charles Moor so beautifully; and I so much
admire those fine fellows the robbers, and Spiegelberg, who loves his
captain dearly enough to die for him a thousand times. I will show you,
Schiller, that I have learned something from the noble Spiegelberg,
and that the high-minded robber captain is my model. I am not rich,
certainly, and cannot do as he did when his money gave out, and take
it forcibly from the rich on the public highways, but I can scrape
together funds enough to help a good man out of trouble, and do a
service to the author of 'The Robbers!'"

"What do you say, my friend? What is it you will do?" asked Schiller,
joyfully.

"With your permission, I will lend Mr. Schwelm, with whose family
in Stuttgart I am well acquainted, and who, I know, will repay me,
the sum of three hundred florins for two years, at the usual rate of
interest--that is, if he will accept it."

"I will accept it with pleasure," said Oswald Schwelm, heartily
grasping Hölzel's proffered hand. "Yes, I accept the money with joy,
and I give you my word of honor that I will return it at the expiration
of that time."

"I believe you," said Hölzel, cordially, "for he who promoted the
publication of 'The Robbers' by giving his money for that purpose, is
surely too good and too noble to defraud his fellow-man. Come down into
my office with me. Business should be done in an orderly manner," said
he, as he laughingly surveyed the room, in which nothing was in its
proper place, but every thing thrown around in the greatest disorder.
"Things are not exactly orderly here; and I don't believe there would
be room enough on that table to count out the three hundred florins."

"Very true," said Schiller, smiling. "But you must also consider,
Hölzel, that the table has never had occasion to prepare itself for the
reception of three hundred florins."

"I, unfortunately, know very well that the managers of the theatres do
not pay the poet as they should," said Hölzel, contemptuously. "They
pay him but a paltry sum for his magnificent works. Tell me, Schiller,
is what Mr. Schwan told me yesterday true; did the Manager von Thalberg
really give you but eight louis d'ors for your tragedy, 'Fiesco?'"

"Yes, it is true, Hölzel, and I can assure you that this table, for my
three tragedies, has not yet groaned under the weight of three hundred
florins. And this may in some measure excuse me in your eyes for what
has occurred."

"No excuse is necessary," said Hölzel, good-humoredly. "Come,
gentlemen, let us go down and attend to our business. Above all things,
Mr. Printer-of-the-Robbers, send your constables away. They have
nothing more to do here, and only offend the eye with their presence.
And now we will count out the money, and satisfy the warrant."

"And make out a note of indebtedness to you, you worthy helper in
time of trouble," said Oswald Schwelm, as he followed the printer and
constables out of the room.

Schiller was also about to follow, but Hölzel gently pushed him back.
"It is not necessary for you to accompany us, Mr. Schiller. What
has the poet to do with such matters, and why should you waste your
precious time? We can attend to our money matters without you; and I am
not willing that this harpy of a printer should any longer remain in
your presence."

"My dear friend," exclaimed Schiller, with emotion, "what a kind, noble
fellow you are, and how well it becomes you to do good and generous
actions in this simple, unostentatious manner! You have freed me from a
heavy burden to-day, and relieved my soul of much care; and if my next
drama succeeds well, you can say to yourself that you are the cause,
and that you have helped me in my work!"

"Great help, indeed," laughed the architect. "I can build a pretty good
house, but of your theatrical pieces I know nothing at all; and no one
would believe me if I should say I had helped Frederick Schiller in
his tragedies. Nor is it necessary that they should. Only keep a kind
remembrance of me in your heart, that is renown enough for me, although
men should hear nothing about the poor architect, Hölzel."

"My friend," said Schiller, in an earnest, solemn voice, "if I am
really a poet, and the German nation at some future day recognizes,
loves, and honors me as such, you also will not be forgotten, and men
will keep your name in good remembrance; for what a good man does in
love and kindness to a poet, is not lost. Children and grandchildren
will praise his good action, as if he had done it to themselves, and
will call him the nation's benefactor, because he was the poet's
benefactor. May this be your reward, my friend! I wish this for your
sake and for my own. And now go, for my heart is filled with tears, and
I feel them rushing to my eyes!"

Hölzel had already passed out, and gently closed the door, and did not
hear these last words. No one saw Schiller's gushing tears; no one
heard the sobs which escaped his breast; no one witnessed the struggle
with himself, with the humiliations, sorrows, and distress of life; no
ear heard him complain sadly of want and poverty, the only inheritance
of the German poet!

But Frederick Schiller's soul of fire soon rose above such
considerations. His glance, which had before been tearfully directed
to the present, now pierced the future; and he saw on the distant
heights, on the temple of renown, inscribed in golden letters, the name
/Frederick Schiller/.

"I am a poet," he cried, exultingly, "and more 'by the grace of God'
than kings or princes are. If earth belongs to them, heaven is mine.
While they are regaled at golden tables, I am feasted at the table of
the gods with ambrosia and nectar! What matter, if poets are beggars on
earth--if they are not possessed of riches? They should not complain.
Have they not the God-given capital of mind and poetry intrusted to
them, that it may bear interest in their works? And, though the man
must sometimes hunger, a bountiful repast awaits the poet on the
heights of Olympus! With this thought I will console myself," he added,
in a loud voice, "and will proclaim it to others for their consolation.
I will write a poem on this subject, and its name shall be, 'The
Partition of the Earth!'"

He walked to the table, and noted this title in his diary with a few
hasty strokes of the pen.

He now wished to return to his tragedy. But the Muses had been driven
from this consecrated ground by discordant earthly sounds, and were now
not disposed to return at his bidding, and the poet's thoughts lacked
buoyancy and enthusiasm.

"It is useless," exclaimed Schiller, throwing his pen aside. "The
tears wrung from my heart by earthly sorrow have extinguished the
heavenly fire, and all is cold within me! Where shall I find the holy,
soul-kindling spark?"

"In her," responded a voice in his heart. "In Charlotte von Kalb! Yes,
this fair young woman, this impassioned soul will again enliven and
inspire me. She understands poetry; and all that is truly beautiful
and great finds an echo in her heart. I will go to Charlotte! I will
read her the first two acts of my 'Carlos,' and her delight will kindle
anew the fire of enthusiasm."

He hastily rolled up his manuscript, and took down his hat. He cast no
look at the dusty, dingy little mirror fastened to the window-frame.
No brush touched his dishevelled hair, or removed the dust and stains
from his dress. It never occurred to the poet to think of his outward
appearance. What cared he for outward appearances--he who occupied
himself exclusively with the mind? He rushed out of the house, and
through the streets of the little city. The people he met greeted him
with reverence, and stood still to look after the tall, thin figure
of the poet. He neither saw nor heeded them. His eyes were upturned,
and his thoughts flew on in advance of him to Charlotte--to the
impassioned, enthusiastic young woman.

Does her heart forebode the poet's coming? Does the secret sympathy
which links souls together, whisper: "Charlotte von Kalb, Frederick
Schiller approaches?"



CHAPTER V.

CHARLOTTE VON KALB.


She was sitting at the window of the handsomely-furnished room which
she used as a parlor. She had just completed her elegant and tasteful
toilet; and when the mirror reflected the image of a young woman
of twenty, with light hair, slightly powdered, a high, thoughtful
forehead, and remarkably large and luminous black eyes, and the tall,
graceful figure, attired in a rich and heavy woollen dress of light
blue, Charlotte von Kalb turned from the beautiful vision with a sigh.

"I am well worthy of being loved, and yet no one loves me! No one!
Neither the husband, forced upon me by my family, nor my sister, who
only thinks of the unhappiness of her own married life, nor any other
relative. I am alone. The husband who should be at my side, is far away
at the court of the beautiful Queen of France. The sister lives with
her unloved husband on her estates. I am alone, entirely alone! Ah,
this solitude of the heart is cheerless, for my heart is filled with
enthusiasm, and longing for love!"

She shuddered as she uttered these words, and turned her eyes with
a startled, anxious look to the little picture which, together with
several others, hung on the window-frame. She slowly walked forward
and gazed at it long and thoughtfully. It was only a plain black
silhouette of a head taken in profile. But how expressive was this
profile, how magnificent the high, thoughtful forehead, how proud the
sharply-defined nose, how eloquent the swelling lips, and how powerful
the massive chin! It would have been evident to any observer, that this
picture represented the head of a man of great intellect, although he
had not seen, written underneath, the name Frederick Schiller!

"Frederick Schiller,"--whispered Charlotte, with a sigh,--"Frederick
Schiller!"

Her lips said nothing more, but an anxious voice kept on whispering and
lamenting in her heart; and she listened to this whispering, and gazed
vacantly out into the street!

The door-bell rang and roused Charlotte von Kalb from her dreams. Some
one has entered the house! She hopes he is not coming to see her! She
does not wish to see any one, for no one will come whom she cares to
see!

Some one knocks loudly at the door; a crimson glow suffuses itself over
Charlotte's cheeks, for she knows this knock, and it echoes so loudly
in her heart, that she is incapable of answering it.

The knocking is heard for the second time, and a sudden unaccountable
terror takes possession of Charlotte's heart; she flies through the
room and into her boudoir, closing the door softly behind her. But she
remains standing near it, and hears the door open, and the footsteps
of a man entering; and then she hears his voice as he calls to the
servant: "Madame von Kalb is not here! Go and say that I beg to be
permitted to see her."

Oh, she recognizes this voice!--the voice of Frederick Schiller; and it
pierces her soul like lightning, and makes her heart quake.

It may not be! No, Charlotte; by all that is holy, it may not be! Think
of your duty, do not forget it for a moment! Steel your heart, make it
strong and firm! Cover your face with a mask, an impenetrable mask! No
one must dream of what is going on in your breast--he least of all!

A knock is heard at the door leading to her bedchamber. It is her maid
coming to announce that Mr. Schiller awaits her in the reception-room.

"Tell him to be kind enough to wait a few minutes. I will come
directly."

After a few minutes had expired, Charlotte von Kalb entered the
reception-room with a clear brow and smiling countenance. Schiller had
advanced to meet her, and, taking the tapering little hand which she
extended, he pressed it fervently to his lips.

"Charlotte, my friend, I come to you because my heart is agitated
with stormy thoughts, for I know that my fair friend understands the
emotions of the heart."

"Emotions of the heart, Schiller?" she asked, laughing loudly. "Have we
come to that pass again? Already another passion besides the beautiful
Margaret Schwan and the little Charlotte von Wolzogen?"

He looked up wonderingly, and their eyes met; Charlotte's cheeks grew
paler in spite of her efforts to retain the laughing expression she had
assumed.

"How strangely you speak to-day, Charlotte, and how changed your voice
sounds!"

"I have taken cold, my friend," said she, with a slight shrug of her
shoulders. "You know very well that I cannot stand the cold; it kills
me! But it was not to hear this you came to see me?"

"No, that is very true," replied Schiller, in confusion. "I did not
come for that purpose. I--why are your hands so cold, Charlotte, and
why have you given me no word of welcome?"

"Because you have not yet given me an opportunity to do so," she said,
smiling. "It really looks as if you had come to-day rather in your
capacity of regimental surgeon, to call on a patient, than as a poet,
to visit an intimate acquaintance."

"An intimate acquaintance!" exclaimed Schiller, throwing her hand
ungently from him. "Charlotte, will you then be nothing more to me than
an intimate acquaintance?"

"Well, then, a good friend," she said quietly. "But let us not quarrel
about terms, Schiller. We very well know what we are to each other. You
should at least know that my heart sympathizes with all that concerns
you. And now tell me, my dear friend, what brings you here at this
unusual hour? It must be something extraordinary that induces the poet
Schiller to leave his study at this hour. Well, have I guessed right?
Is it something extraordinary?"

"I don't know," replied Schiller, in some confusion.

"You don't know!" exclaimed Charlotte, with a peal of laughter, which
seemed to grate on Schiller's ear, for he recoiled sensitively, and his
brow darkened.

"I cannot account for the sudden change that has come over me,"
said Schiller, thoughtfully. "I came with a full, confiding heart,
Charlotte, longing to see you, and now, all at once I feel that a
barrier of ice has arisen around my heart; your strangely cold and
indifferent manner has frozen me to the core."

"You are a child; that is to say, you are a poet. Come, my poet, let us
not quarrel about words and appearance; whatever my outward manner may
be, you know that I am sound and true at heart. And now I see why you
came. That roll of paper is a manuscript! Frederick Schiller has come,
as he promised to do a few days ago, to read his latest poem to the
admirer of his muse. You made a mystery of it, and would not even tell
me whether your new work was a tragedy or a poem. And now you have come
to impart this secret. Is it not so, Schiller?"

"Yes, that was my intention," he replied, sadly. "I wished to read, to
a sympathizing and loved friend, the beginning of a new tragedy, but--"

"No 'but' whatever," she exclaimed, interrupting him. "Let me see the
manuscript at once!" and she tripped lightly to the chair on which he
had deposited his hat and the roll of paper on entering the room.

"May I open it, Schiller?"--and when he bowed assentingly, she tore off
the cover with trembling hands and read, "Don Carlos, Infanta of Spain;
a Tragedy."--"Oh, my dear Schiller, a new tragedy! Oh, my poet, my dear
poet, what a pleasure! how delightful!"

"Oh," cried Schiller, exultingly; "this is once more the beautiful
voice, once more the enthusiastic glance! Welcome, Charlotte, a
thousand welcomes!"

He rushed forward, seized her hand, and pressed it to his lips. She did
not look at him, but gazed fixedly at the manuscript which she still
held in her hand, and repeated, in a low voice, "Don Carlos, Infanta of
Spain."

"Yes, and I will now read this Infanta, that is, if you wish to hear
it, Charlotte?"

"How can you ask, Schiller? Quick, seat yourself opposite me, and let
us begin."

She seated herself on the little sofa, and, when Schiller turned to
go after a chair, she hastily and noiselessly pressed a kiss on the
manuscript, which she held in her hand.

When Schiller returned with the chair, the manuscript lay on the table,
and Charlotte sat before him in perfect composure.

Schiller began to read the first act of "Don Carlos" to his "friend,"
in an elevated voice, with pathos and with fiery emotion, and entirely
carried away by the power of his own composition!

But his friend and auditor did not seem to participate in this rapture!
Her large black eyes regarded the reader intently. At first her looks
expressed lively sympathy, but by degrees this expression faded away;
she became restless, and at times, when Schiller declaimed in an
entirely too loud and grandiloquent manner, a stealthy smile played
about her lips. Schiller had finished reading, and laid his manuscript
on the table; he now turned to his friend, his eyes radiant with
enthusiasm. "And now, my dear, my only friend, give me your opinion,
honestly and sincerely! What do you think of my work?"

"Honestly and sincerely?" she inquired, her lips twitching with the
same smile.

"Yes, my friend, I beg you to do so."

"Well, then, my dear friend," she exclaimed, with a loud and continuous
peal of laughter; "well, then, my dear Schiller, I must tell you,
honestly and sincerely, that 'Don Carlos' is the very worst you have
ever written!"

Schiller sprang up from his chair, horror depicted in his countenance.
"Your sincere opinion?"

"Yes, my sincere opinion!" said Charlotte von Kalb, still laughing.

"No," cried Schiller, angrily, "this is too bad!"

Schiller seized his hat, and, without taking the slightest notice of
Charlotte, left the room, slamming the door behind him.[8]

With great strides, he hurried through the streets, chagrin and
resentment in his heart; and yet so dejected, so full of sadness, that
he could have cried out with pain and anguish against himself and
against the whole world.

When he saw acquaintances approaching, he turned into a side street to
avoid them. He wished to see no one; he was not in a condition to speak
on indifferent subjects.

He reached his dwelling, passed up the stairway, and into the room,
which he had left in so lofty a frame of mind, dispirited and cast down.

"It is all in vain, all in vain," he cried, dashing his hat to the
floor. "The gold I believed I had found, proves to be nothing but
glimmering coals that have now died out. Oh, Frederick Schiller, what
is to become of you--what can you do with this unreal enthusiasm
burning in your soul?"

He rushed excitedly to and fro in his little room, striking the books,
which lay around on the floor in genial disorder, so violently with his
foot, that they flew to the farthest corners of the chamber.

He thrust his hands wildly into his disordered hair, tearing off the
ribbon which confined his queue, and struck with his clinched fist
the miserable little table which he honored with the name of his
writing-desk.

These paroxysms of fury, of glowing anger--eruptions of internal
desolation and despair--were not of rare occurrence in the life of the
poor, tormented poet.

"My father was right," he cried, in his rage. "I am an inflated
fool, who over-estimates himself, and boasts of great prospects and
expectations which are never to be realized! Why did I not listen
to his wise counsel? why did I not remain the regimental surgeon,
and crouch submissively at the feet of my tyrant? Why was I such a
simpleton as to desire to do any thing better than apply plasters! I
imagined myself invited to the table of the gods, whereas I am only
worthy to stand as a lackey at the table of my Duke, and eat the hard
crust of duty and subserviency! She laughed! Laughed at my poem! All
these words, these thoughts that had blossomed up from the depths of my
heart; all these forms to whom I had given spirit of my spirit, life of
my life: all this had no other effect than to excite laughter--laughter
over my tragedy! Oh, Charlotte, Charlotte, why have you done this?"

And he again thrust his hands violently into his hair, and sank
groaning into his chair.

"I am unhappy, very unhappy! I believed I could conquer a world, and
have not yet conquered a single human heart! I hoped to acquire honor,
renown, and a competency by the creative power of my talents, and
am but a poor, nameless man, tormented by creditors, by misery, and
want, who must at last admit that he placed a false estimate on his
abilities. Truly I am unhappy, very unhappy! Entirely alone; none who
loves or understands me!"

Deep sighs escaped his breast, and tears stood in the eyes that looked
up reproachfully toward heaven.

As he lowered his eyes, he looked toward the writing-table--the
writing-table at which he had spent so many hours of the night in hard
work; at which he had written, thought, and suffered so much.

"In vain, all in vain! Nothing but illusion and disappointment! If what
I have written with my heart's blood excites laughter, I am no poet, am
not one of the anointed! It were better I had copied deeds and written
recipes, instead of tragedies, for a living, and--"

He ceased speaking as he observed a letter and package, which the
carrier had brought and deposited on his table during his absence.

A simple letter would have excited no pleasure or curiosity; yes,
would even have filled him with consternation, for the letters he
was in the habit of receiving only caused humiliation and pain. They
were either from dunning creditors, from his angry father, or from
theatre-managers, rejecting his "Fiesco," as useless, and not adapted
to the stage.

But beside this letter lay a package; and the letter which Schiller now
took from the table bore the postmark Leipsic. From Leipsic! Who could
write to him? who could send him a package from that city? Who had ever
sent him any thing but rejected manuscripts and theatrical pieces?

"Ah, that was it!" He had also sent his "Fiesco" to the director of
the theatre at Leipsic, and this gentleman had now returned it with a
polite letter of refusal. Of course, it could be nothing else!

He wrathfully broke the seal, unfolded the letter, and looked first at
the signature, to assure himself that he had not been deceived.

But no! This was not the name of the director in Leipsic; and what did
these four signatures in different handwritings mean? There were: "C.
G. Körner," and, beside it, "Minna Stock;" and under these names two
others, "L. F. Huber," and "Dora Stock."

Schiller shook his head wonderingly, and began to read the letter; at
first with composure, but, as he read on, became agitated, and his pale
cheek colored with pleasure.

From the far-off Leipsic four impassioned beings wafted a greeting to
the distant, unknown poet.

They wished to thank Frederick Schiller, they wrote, for the many
delightful hours for which they were indebted to him; to thank him
for the sublime poetry which had awakened the noblest feelings in
their bosoms and filled their hearts with enthusiasm. They, two bridal
couples, were deeply imbued with love for each other, and the high
thought and feeling of Frederick Schiller's poems had excited emotions
in them which tended to make them better and happier. They wrote
further, that nothing was wanting to complete their happiness but the
presence of the poet at the consummation of their union. Together
they had read his "Robbers," his "Louise Müllerin," and his "Fiesco;"
and while so engaged love had taken root in their hearts, grown and
blossomed, and for all this they were indebted to Frederick Schiller.
They therefore implored him to come to Leipsic on the wedding-day. And
then in touching, cordial words, they told him that they never spoke
of him but as their dearest friend and benefactor. And further, they
begged permission to send the accompanying package as a token of their
gratitude in the ardent admiration which they entertained for him in
common with every feeling heart and thinking head in Germany.

He laid the letter aside, and hastily opened the package, for he longed
to see the persons who so ardently admired him.

And there they were, these dear persons, in beautiful miniatures,
on each of which the name of the painter, Huber, was inscribed. How
charming and beautiful were the two girlish faces which seemed to
smile upon Schiller from the two medallions; how grave and thoughtful
the head of the young man designated as Körner; how genial and bold
the face of the painter Huber! But there was something else in the
package besides the four portraits. There was a song neatly written
on gilt-edged paper, a song from "The Robbers," and Körner's name was
given as the composer. Moreover, the package contained a magnificent
pocket-book, worked in gold and silk, and embroidered in pearls; in the
inside he found a little note in which Dora and Minna had written that
they had worked this pocket-book while their fiancés read his tragedies
to them.

Schiller regarded these tokens of love and esteem with astonishment.
It seemed to him that he was dreaming; that all this was an illusion,
and could not be reality. How could he, who, but a few hours before
had experienced such mortification and humiliation, he who had been
ridiculed, scolded, and laughed at; how could he be the happy recipient
of such appreciation and recognition? How was it possible that people
with whom he was not even acquainted, who knew nothing of him, could
send him a greeting, presents, and words of thanks? No, no, it was all
a dream, an illusion! But there lay the letter, yes, there lay the
eloquent witness of truth and reality! Schiller seized the letter with
trembling hands, and continued reading.

"We must tell you, you great and noble poet, that we are indebted to
you for the brightest and best hours of our life. What was good in us
you made better, what was dark in us you made light; our inmost being
has been elevated by your poems. Your sublime words are constantly on
our lips when we are together. Accept our thanks, Frederick Schiller,
accept the thanks of two German youths and two German maidens! Let
them speak to you in the name of the German nation, in the name of
the thousands of German maidens and youths who sing your songs with
enthusiasm, and whose eyes fill with tears of devotion and delight when
they see your tragedies!"

Tears of devotion and delight! Schiller's eyes are now filled with such
tears. He sinks down upon his knees almost unconsciously, and his soul
rises in inspiration to God. He raises his arms and folds his hands as
if in prayer, and the tearful eye seeks and finds heaven.

"I thank Thee, God, that Thou hast blessed me with such happiness. I
thank you, my absent friends, to whom my heart longs to fly. I thank
you for this hour! I thank you, because it is the happiest of my life.
Your loving greeting sounds on my ear like a voice in the desert,
cheering and consoling. And I, who was crushed in pain and despair,
once more arise in renewed hope and happiness. O God! when I think that
there are, perhaps, others in this world besides you, the two happy
couples who love me, who would be glad to know me; that, perhaps, in
a hundred years or more, when my dust is long since scattered to the
winds, people will still bless my memory, and pay it a tribute of
tears and admiration when my body is slumbering in the grave; then,
my beloved unknown friends, then I am proud of my mission, and am
reconciled to my God and my sometimes cruel fate.[9]

"Now I know that I am a poet," he exclaimed, rising from his knees and
walking to and fro with rapid strides. "It was not a dream, a vain
illusion! I am a poet! These noble souls and loving hearts could not
have been enkindled by my works if they had not been deeply imbued with
the fire of poetry! I am a poet, although she laughed at and ridiculed
me! She of all others; she who I thought would certainly understand me!"

Schiller opened the door to admit some one who knocked loudly. A
liveried servant entered and handed him a little note.

These few words were written on the sheet of paper in almost illegible
characters: "I conjure you to come to me, my friend! I have something
of importance to communicate! Be magnanimous, and come at once!
/Charlotte/!"

She had appealed to his magnanimity at a favorable moment! She had
irritated and mortified him greatly, but balm had been applied to the
wound, and it no longer smarted.

"Go, Charles, and tell Madame von Kalb that I will come at once!"

Charles leaves the room, followed by Schiller, whose thoughts are
not occupied with Charlotte on the way this time, but with the four
friends in Leipsic, who love him and who did not laugh at his "Don
Carlos." These thoughts illumine his countenance with serenity and
noble self-consciousness. He carries himself more proudly and his face
is brighter and clearer than ever before, for the recognition of his
fellow-man has fallen upon and elevated him like the blessing of God.

He enters Charlotte's dwelling and passes through the hall to the door
of her room.

Charlotte awaits him, standing at the open door, her eyes red with
weeping, and yet a heavenly smile resting on her countenance. She
beckons to him to enter; and when he had done so and closed the door,
Charlotte falls on her knees before him; she, the beautiful, high-born
lady, before the poor young poet--but yet the poet "by the grace of
God." "Oh, Schiller, dear Schiller, can you forgive me? I appeal to
you, the genius, the noblest of German poets, for forgiveness!"

He stooped down to her in dismay. "For God's sake, my lady, what are
you doing? How can you so debase yourself? Stand up. I conjure you,
stand up!"

"Schiller, not until you have forgiven my error; not until you swear
that that horrible scene no longer excites your anger!"

"I swear to you, Charlotte, that I feel no trace of displeasure. Good
angels have wafted from me all irritation and anger with the breath of
love. And now arise, Charlotte! Let me assist you with my hand."

She took hold of the large hand which he extended, with her two
little hands, and raised herself up. "Oh, my dear Schiller, how I
have suffered, and yet how much delight I have experienced since your
departure! How fortunate it was that you had forgotten your manuscript
in your displeasure! I read it once more, to strengthen my opinion
as to its want of merit. But how completely had I been deceived, how
sublime a poem is this tragedy, how melodious is the flow of words, how
poetic is the heavenward flight of thought! Hail to you, my friend,
hail to your future, for your latest poem, your 'Don Carlos,' is the
most beautiful you have yet written!"

"Oh, Charlotte," exclaimed Schiller, joyfully, "is it true, are you
in earnest? But no, only your goodness of heart prompted you to utter
these words. In your generosity you wish to soothe the pain your
condemnation inflicted."

"No, Schiller, I swear by all that is high and beautiful, by yourself,
by your poetic genius, that your 'Don Carlos' will adorn your brow
with a laurel-wreath of immortality. After the lapse of centuries this
tragedy will be still praised and esteemed as a masterpiece; and the
entire German nation will say with pride, 'Frederick Schiller was our
own! The poems which excited enthusiasm and delight throughout all
Europe were written in the German language, and Frederick Schiller was
a German poet!' Oh, could my spirit wing its flight earthward to hear
posterity proclaim these words, and to sing the song of rejoicing on
the immortal grave of him whom my spirit recognized and revered while
he still trod the earth in the flesh! Schiller, something seems to tell
me that I am the Muse destined to consecrate the poet with the kiss of
love and of pain. What can a woman give the man she honors above all
others, and for whom she entertains the purest affection, what more
noble gift can she bestow upon him than the kiss of consecration from
her lips? Take it, Frederick Schiller, poet of 'Don Carlos,' take from
my lips the kiss of consecration, the kiss of gratitude."

"Oh, Charlotte, my Muse, my friend, and let me say the grand, the
divine word, my beloved! I thank you!"

He entwined her slender figure with his arms; pressed her to his heart,
and imprinted a long and ardent kiss upon her lips, then looked at her
with sparkling eyes, and, enraptured with her blushing countenance, his
lips were about to seek hers for the second time.

With a quick movement, Charlotte withdrew from his embrace, and stepped
back. "The sublime moment has passed," she said, with earnestness and
dignity. "We again belong to the world, to reality; now, that we have
done homage to the gods and muses, we must again accommodate ourselves
to the rules and customs of the world."

"And why, Charlotte, why should we do so? Are not those rules
changeable and fleeting? What men denounce as crimes to-day, they
proclaim as heroic deeds at some other time; and what they to-day brand
as vice, they will perhaps praise as virtue at some future day. Oh,
Charlotte, I love you, my soul calls for you, my heart yearns for you.
When I look upon you, all is feeling and blissful enjoyment! Let us
unite the souls which arise above earthly feeling to divine sublimity;
let us unite in the godlike love in which heart responds to heart, and
soul to soul. Oh, do not look wonderingly at me with those profound and
glowing eyes! Charlotte, have you not long since known and divined that
I loved you, and you only?"

"Me only," she cried, sadly. "No, it is not so, not me only! It is
love that you love in me, and not myself. Oh, Schiller, beware, I pray
you; for your own sake, beware! Take back your avowal. I will not have
heard it, it shall have died away inaudibly--have been erased from my
fantasy. Take it back--but no, rather say nothing more about it. Let
this moment be forgotten, as the last golden ray of the setting sun is
forgotten. Let us speak to each other as we have been accustomed to do,
as friends!"

"Friends!" exclaimed Schiller, angrily. "I say to you, with Aristotle:
'Oh, my friends, there are no friends!' At least what I feel for you,
Charlotte, is not friendship! It is ardent, passionate love! But this
you cannot comprehend. You do not know what love is; your heart is
cold!"

"My heart cold?" she repeated, with sparkling eyes. "I not know what
love is! And Frederick Schiller tells me this! The poet's eyes are
clouded! He does not look behind the veil, which the usage of the
world has thrown over my countenance. I know what love is, Frederick
Schiller! But ought I, the married woman, the wife of an unloved and
unloving husband, ought I to know love? Must I not wipe the tear of
delight from my eye, suppress the longing cry on my lips, and erect
a barrier of ice around the heart, that burns and glows with the
flames which animate my whole being, giving warmth and light, like
the fires in the bosom of the earth? If I were free, if the will of
my relations had not forced me to the altar, where I fainted after my
lips pronounced the fatal word of assent;[10] if I could name the man
I love, I would say to him: 'Beloved, you are the life of my life, the
heart of my heart, and the thought of my thought. From you I receive
all being, and breathe all inspiration from your glances! Take me to
yourself as the sea receives the drop of rain, absorbing it in its
bosom! Let me be a part of your life! Let me feel that my own being
merges its identity in yours! I have lost myself that I may find myself
in you. My sun sets, to rise again with you to the serene heights of
bliss, of knowledge, and of poetry. For us there is no more parting
on earth or in heaven; for we are one, and by murder only can you
make of this union two distinct beings capable of going in different
directions. But I would not wander on, for separation from you, my
beloved, with whom I had been made one, would only be accomplished by
shedding my heart's blood. But my lips would not accuse you; they would
receive the kiss of death in silence! Therefore, if you do not wish to
kill me, be true, as I shall be unto death.'"

"Charlotte, heavenly being," cried Schiller, gazing at her radiant
countenance with astonishment and delight, "you stand before me as in a
halo! you are a Titaness; you storm the ramparts of heaven!"

A smile flitted over her features, and she lowered the eyes, which had
been gazing upward, again to earth, and regarded Schiller earnestly and
intently. "I have told you how I would speak to the man I loved, if I
dared. Duty forbids it, however, and I must be dumb. But I can speak to
you as a friend and as a sympathizing acquaintance, and rejoice with
you over your magnificent work. Seat yourself at my side, Schiller, and
let us talk about your 'Don Carlos.'"

"No, Charlotte, not until you have first honestly and openly
acknowledged why this sudden change took place, and how it is you are
now pleased with what only excited your laughter a few hours ago?"

"Shall I tell you, honestly and openly?"

"Yes, my friend, henceforth everything must be open and honest between
us!"

"Well, then, my friend, you yourself bear the blame."

"Myself? How so, Charlotte?"

"I acknowledge it out of friendship, your tragedy was spoiled in the
reading. You are a poet, but not an orator. In the heat of delivery, my
friend forgets that Don Carlos did not speak Suabian German, and that
King Philip 'halt nit aus Stuckart ist.'[11] And now, that I have told
you, give me your hand, Schiller, and swear that you will forget my
laughter!"

"No, I will forget nothing that you say or do, Charlotte; for all that
you do is good, and beautiful, and amiable! I kiss the loved hand that
struck me, and would like to demand as an atonement a kiss from the
cruel lips which laughed at me."

"No jesting, Schiller; let us be grave, and discuss the future of your
'Don Carlos.' Something great, something extraordinary, must be done
for this great and extraordinary work! It must shoot like a blazing
meteor over the earth, and engrave its name in characters of flame on
huts and palaces alike. The poet who makes kings and princes speak so
beautifully, must himself speak with kings and princes--must obtain
a princely patron. And I have already formed a plan to effect this.
Schiller, you must become acquainted with the Duke Charles August of
Weimar, or rather he must become acquainted with you, and be your
patron. Do you desire this?"

"And if I do," sighed Schiller, shrugging his shoulders, "he will not!
He, the genial duke, who has his great and celebrated Goethe, and his
Wieland, and Herder, he will not trouble himself much about the poor
young Schiller. At the best, he will anathematize the author of 'The
Robbers,' like all the other noblemen and rulers, and be entirely
satisfied if his mad poetry is shipwrecked on the rock of public
indifference."

"You do the noble Duke Charles and yourself wrong," cried Charlotte,
with vivacity. "Charles August of Weimar is no ordinary prince, and you
are no ordinary poet. You should know each other, because you are both
extraordinary men. May I make you acquainted with each other? The Duke
Charles August is coming to Darmstadt to visit his relations. Are you
willing to go there and be introduced to him?"

"Yes; I will gladly do so," exclaimed Schiller, with eagerness. "The
poet needs a princely protector! Who knows whether Tasso would ever
have written his 'Jerusalem Delivered,' if the Duke of Este had not
been his friend--if he had not found an asylum at the court of this
prince? If you can, Charlotte, and if you consider me worthy of the
honor procure me this introduction, and the patronage of the Duke
Charles August. May he, who lets the sun of his friendship shine upon
Goethe, send down one little ray of his grace to warm my cold and
solitary chamber! I will crave but little, if the Duke would only
interest himself in the interdicted 'Robbers.' This alone would be of
great service to me."

"He will, I hope, do more for you, Schiller. I know the Duke, and also
the Landgravine of Hesse! I will give you letters to both of them, and
Mr. von Dalberg, toward whom the Duke is graciously inclined, will also
do so. Oh, it will succeed, it must succeed! We will draw you forcibly
out of the shade and into the light! Not only the German people, but
also the German princes, shall love and honor the poet Frederick
Schiller; and my hand shall lead him to the throne of a prince."

"And let me kiss this fair hand," said Schiller, passionately. "Believe
me, Charlotte, all your words have fallen like stars into my heart, and
illumined it with celestial splendor!"

"May these stars never grow pale!" sighed Charlotte. "May we never be
encompassed with the dark night! But now, my friend, go!"

"You send me away, Charlotte?"

"Yes, I send you away, Schiller. We must deal economically with the
beautiful moments of life. Now go!"

On the evening of this day of so many varied emotions, Schiller wrote
letters, in which he warmly thanked his unknown friends in Leipsic. In
writing, he opened his heart in an unreserved history of his life--so
poor in joys, and so rich in deprivations and disappointed hopes. He
imparted to them all that he had achieved; all his intentions and
desires. He told them of his poverty and want; for false shame was
foreign to Schiller's nature. In his eyes the want of money was not a
want of honor and dignity. He acknowledged every thing to the distant,
unknown friends--his homeless feeling, and his longing to be in some
other sphere, with other men who might perhaps love and understand him.

As he wrote this he hesitated, and it seemed to him that he could see
the sorrowful, reproachful look of Charlotte's large, glowing eyes; and
it seemed to him that she whispered, "Is this your love, Schiller? You
wish to leave me, and yet you know that you will be my murderer if you
go!"

He shuddered, and laid aside his pen, and arose and walked with rapid
strides up and down his room. The glowing words which Charlotte had
spoken to him that morning again resounded in his ear, but now, in the
stillness of the night, they were no longer the same heavenly music.

"I believe it is dangerous to love her," he murmured. "She claims my
whole heart, and would tyrannize over me with her passion. But I must
be free, for he only who is free can conquer the world and achieve
honor; and the love which refreshes my heart must never aspire to
become my tyrant!"

He returned to his writing-table and finished the letter which he
had commenced to Körner. He wrote: "I would that a happy destiny led
me away from here, for I feel that my stay in this place should come
to an end. I wish I could visit you in Leipsic, to thank you for the
hour of delight for which I am indebted to you! Aristotle was wrong
when he said: 'Oh, my friends, there are no friends!' I think of you
and yours; I think of you four, and cry joyously: 'There are friends,
nevertheless! Blessed is he to whom it is vouchsafed by the gods to
find friends without having sought them!'"



CHAPTER VI.

THE TITLE.


Charlotte von Kalb had kept her word. She had equipped Schiller with
letters of introduction to the Duke Charles August and members of
his family; she had also induced Mr. von Dalberg to furnish him with
letters to influential friends at the court of Darmstadt. Provided
with these recommendations, and in his modesty and humility attaching
greater importance to them than to his own reputation and dignity,
Schiller journeyed to Darmstadt, in the beginning of the year 1785, for
the purpose of endeavoring to obtain a friend and protector in the Duke
Charles August of Weimar.

Dalberg's and Charlotte's letters accomplished more than Schiller's
name and worth could possibly have done. The author of "The Robbers"
and "Fiesco," poems which lauded freedom and popular government, and of
"Louise Müllerin," which branded aristocracy as opposed to the rights
of the human heart; a poet who had dared to defy a prince and a ruler
could not have entered the golden gates of a princely palace without
the golden key of Dalberg's and Charlotte's letters.

Frederick Schiller was received at the court of the landgrave in
Darmstadt. The young and joyous Duke Charles August of Weimar welcomed
the poet cordially, and, prompted by the enthusiastic praises of Madame
von Kalb, requested Schiller to read him a portion of the new tragedy.

Schiller offered to read the first act of "Don Carlos," and his offer
was graciously accepted. The reading took place on the afternoon of the
same day. A brilliant array of noblemen in embroidered court dress,
and adorned with decorations, and of magnificently attired ladies,
sparkling with jewels, had assembled in the reception-room of the
landgravine. She, the lover of art, the intellectual Landgravine of
Hesse, had seated herself at the side of the Duke Charles August on the
sofa in the middle of the saloon, behind which the ladies and gentlemen
of the court were standing in groups. Not far off, and completely
isolated, stood a plain cane-bottomed chair, and a little round table,
on which a glass of water had been placed. This was the poet's throne,
and this was the nectar he was to drink at the table of the gods.

He felt embarrassed and almost awe-stricken as he entered the
brilliant court circle in his homely garb; he felt the blood first rush
to his cheeks and then back to his heart again, leaving his countenance
deathly pale.

"Rouse yourself, Schiller, and be a man! Shame upon you for being
blinded by the trumpery and outward glitter of nobility and princely
rank!" He said this to himself as he walked to the place set apart for
him, feeling that the eyes of all rested on him with a cold, examining
glance.

"What do I care for this pack of courtiers, this court-marshal Von Kalb
and his associates?" said he to himself, defiantly. "It was not on
their account I came here, and what they may think of me is a matter of
complete indifference. I aspire only to the good opinion of the duke,
of the friend of the great Goethe."

He looked over toward the sofa, and his glance encountered the eyes of
the young duke, whose countenance was turned to him with a smile and an
expression of good-natured sympathy. Schiller felt encouraged, and a
smile flitted over his features.

He opened his manuscript and began to read the first act of "Don
Carlos" in a clear and loud voice. His voice was full and sonorous, and
his delivery, thanks to Charlotte's admonitions, was purer and more
moderate; and, as he read on, his embarrassment disappeared, and the
clouds lifted from his high brow.

The courtiers, who had first regarded the young poet contemptuously,
now began to show some sympathy; the head, covered with light-yellow
locks, with its sharply-chiselled features and large Roman nose, was,
now that it was illumined with earnest thought, no longer so homely and
uninteresting.

The countenance of the landgravine was expressive of the closest
attention, and the reading of "Don Carlos" affected her so profoundly,
that she had recourse to her handkerchief to wipe the tears of emotion
from her eyes.

At times Charles August could not repress an exclamation of delight, a
loud bravo; and when Schiller arose from his seat, after finishing the
first act, Charles August walked forward to thank the poet with a warm
pressure of the hand, and to conduct him to the landgravine, that she
might also express her thanks and sympathy.

The duke then took the poet's arm, and walked with him through the
saloon, to the disgust of the courtiers, who, notwithstanding their
devotion, found it somewhat strange that the duke could so demean
himself as to walk arm-in-arm with a man without birth or name.

But of course this was a natural consequence of the mania after
geniuses which reigned in Weimar; such abnormities should no longer
excite surprise. Was there not at the court in Weimar so variegated
an admixture of well-born and ill-born, that one ran the risk of
encountering at any moment a person who was not entitled to be there?
Had not the duke carried his disregard of etiquette so far, that he
had made Wolfgang Goethe, the son of a citizen of Frankfort, his
privy-councillor, and an intimate associate? And was it not well
known that his mother, the Duchess Amelia, as well as himself, never
made a journey without picking up some genius on the road for their
establishment at Weimar?

This time Frederick Schiller was the genius whom the duke desired to
recruit. That was quite evident, for the duke had been standing with
the poet for more than a quarter of an hour in a window-niche, and
they were conversing with vivacity. It was offensive and annoying to
see this Mr. Schiller standing before the duke, with a proud bearing
and perfect composure; and conversing with him without the slightest
embarrassment.

But the duke seemed to be greatly interested, and his countenance
expressed lively sympathy and kindliness.

"I believe that destiny has intrusted you with a great mission, Mr.
Schiller," said the duke, when the poet had given him a brief and
terse account of the continuation and contents of his "Don Carlos." "I
believe that you are destined to be the poet-preacher of the people;
and to refresh the hearts and enliven the imagination of the degenerate
Germans; and I prophesy a great future for you! Your aim is a noble
one. You desire not only to assign to the purely human, but also to
the ideal, its proper sphere in this world; and your 'Don Carlos' is
an open combat between the purely human and ideal, against materialism
and custom. Through it you will make many enemies among the higher
classes, and acquire many friends among the masses; and, although you
will not be the favorite of princes, you will certainly be beloved by
the people. For the judgment of the people is good and sound, and it
will always give its sympathies to the champion of the purely human, as
opposed to the ridiculous assumptions of etiquette and prejudice. But I
tell you beforehand, that, in so-called noble society, you will, with
great difficulty, have to fight your way step by step."

"I have been accustomed to such warfare since my earliest youth," said
Schiller, smiling. "Fate has not given me a bed of roses, and Care has
as yet been the only friend who stood faithfully at my side."

"You forget the Muses," cried the duke, with vivacity. "It seems to me
that you have no right to complain of a want of attention on the part
of these ladies!"

"True, your highness," responded Schiller earnestly; "they have at
times been graciously inclined, and I am indebted to them for some of
the most delightful hours of my life."

"Nor has the favor of earthly goddesses and Muses been wanting to the
inspired poet's happiness," said the duke, and he laughed loudly when
he saw Schiller blush and cast his eyes down.

"Oh, I see," he cried gayly, "you have earthly Muses also, your ideal
has become reality! Could there be any connection between this and the
songs of praise which Madame von Kalb wrote me concerning you?"

"Your highness, I really do not understand your meaning."

"Or rather, will not understand it! But we will not examine the affair
any closer. Madame von Kalb has certainly made it my duty to interest
myself for her poet, and I thank her for having made me acquainted
with you. And now I should like to give a proof of my gratitude, and it
would afford me pleasure to have you tell me in what manner I can be
useful to you."

"Your kind and gracious words have already been of great benefit to
me," said Schiller, heartily; "your goodness has shed a ray of sunshine
into my sometimes cold and cheerless heart."

"Your heart is never cold, Schiller, for the fire of poetry burns
there. But in your little chamber it may sometimes be cold and
cheerless. That I can well believe, for when the gods rain down
blessings upon the poet they generally forget but one thing, but that
is the one thing needful, money! The gods generally lay but one sort of
capital in the cradle of mortal man, either a capital in mind or one of
more material value; and truly he must be a great favorite to whom they
give both."

"Yes, a very great favorite," murmured Schiller, in a low voice; and he
read in the prince's countenance that he was thinking of his favorite,
Wolfgang Goethe, who had arisen like a meteor before Schiller's gaze at
the time he visited the Charles School in Stuttgart, in company with
the duke, to witness the distribution of prizes to the scholars of this
institution. While the scholar, Frederick Schiller, was receiving a
prize which had been awarded him, the gaze of Goethe's large eyes was
fixed upon him, but only with the composed expression of a great man
who wished him well and condescended to evince sympathy. This look had
sunk deep into Schiller's heart, and he thought of it now as he stood
before the duke in the palace of Darmstadt--the duke, who could be a
friend to Goethe, but to him only a patron and an almsgiver.

"I desire to be of service to you if I can," said the duke, who, for
some time, had been silently regarding Schiller, whose eyes were cast
down thoughtfully. "Have you any wish, my dear Mr. Schiller, that I can
perhaps gratify? I am certainly not a mighty prince, and unfortunately
not a rich one, but if I can help you in any way, I will gladly do so."

Schiller raised his head quickly, and his eye met the inquiring look of
the duke with a proud gaze. Not for all the world would he have told
the prince of his distress and want, would he have stood on the floor
of that palace as an humble beggar, soliciting alms for the journey
through life!

"Your highness, I repeat it, your friendly reception and your sympathy
have already been a great assistance to me."

The duke's countenance brightened, and he breathed freer, as if a
burden had fallen from his soul. "And this assistance shall never
be wanting, of that you may be assured. Every one shall learn that
Charles August, of Weimar, is happy to know the German poet, Frederick
Schiller, and that he counts him among those who are dear to him. A
German duke was your tyrant; a German prince drove you out into the
world, therefore it is just and right that another German duke should
show you friendship, and endeavor to make your path in life a little
smoother. I will be ready to do so at all times, and to testify to my
high opinion of yourself and your talents before the whole world, your
tyrannical prince included. And a proof of it shall be given you before
you leave Darmstadt! For the present, farewell, and if you should come
to Weimar at any time, do not forget to pay your good friend, Charles
August, a visit! You will not leave until to-morrow morning, I suppose?"

"No, your highness, not until to-morrow morning."

"Well, then, my dear Mr. Schiller, you will hear from me this evening."

Schiller returned to his hotel in a thoughtful mood. What could the
duke's words mean? What token of esteem would Charles August give him?
Perhaps even an appointment. Ah, and if ever so unimportant a one, it
would still be an alleviation of relief. Perhaps the duke only intended
to offer him the use of one of his unoccupied castles, in order that
he might finish his "Don Carlos" in peaceful seclusion. Well, that
also would be a blessing, a benefit! The homeless one would then have
a resting-place from which he could not be driven, where he would not
be assailed by the cares and vexations of life. The hours dragged on
sluggishly in the bare, uncomfortable little room at the hotel, and
the poet tormented himself with suppositions and questions, while he
listened attentively to hear the footstep of the expected messenger of
the duke.

At last, after hours of waiting, a knock was heard at the door, and
a ducal lackey handed Schiller a large sealed document. It seemed to
regard him with a right official and solemn look with its great seal of
state bearing the inscription, "Ducal private cabinet," and the poet's
feelings were of the same nature when he opened it after the lackey's
departure. What could it be that the duke offered him, an appointment
or a retreat?

An expression of astonishment and surprise was depicted on Schiller's
countenance as he read the document; his brow darkened, and he let the
paper fall to the table. The duke offered him neither an appointment
nor a retreat. He gave him a title, the title of a ducal counsellor.
The secretary of the cabinet made known the generous determination of
his master, and informed him that the document appointing him to this
office would be made out in official form and forwarded to him on the
duke's return to Weimar. Frederick Schiller should, however, be enabled
to wear the title so graciously conferred, and call himself "ducal
counsellor" from that hour.

While reading it for the second time, the poet laughed derisively.
This was the solution of the riddle. He who had scarcely known how to
counsel himself, was now the counsellor of a prince who would probably
never desire his counsel. He who was tormented with cares, who had no
home, had nothing he could call his own besides his manuscripts--he was
now the possessor of a title.

How strange the contrast! The tragedy which waged war against princely
prerogatives, etiquette, and ceremony, in favor of humanity, equality
before the law, and nobility of soul--this tragedy was to bear, as its
first fruit, the favor of a prince.

It was strange--it looked almost like irony, and yet!--He thought
of Charlotte von Kalb--she would rejoice to see him thus honored
by a German prince. He thought of his old parents, to whom it
would undoubtedly be a great satisfaction to know that the former
regimental-surgeon of the Duke of Wurtemberg had become so
distinguished. It would prove to them that their Fritz, of whom the
severe father had often despaired, had nevertheless attained honor and
respectability in the eyes of the world.

Well, then, let it be so! A little appointment would certainly have
been better, and some hunting-castle as a retreat would probably have
furthered the completion of "Don Carlos." But one must be contented,
nevertheless. The little was not to be despised, for it was an honor
and a public acknowledgment, and would, perhaps, have the effect
of infusing into the directors a little more respect for the poet,
whose dramas they often maltreated and injured by poor and careless
representation.

With a smile, Schiller folded the document and laid it aside. "Well,"
said he to himself, in a low voice, "I entertain the proud hope that
I am a poet 'by the grace of God!' Moreover, I have now become a
counsellor by the grace of a duke. All that I now wish is, that I may
at last become a poet and a counsellor, by the grace of the people,
and that they may approve my works, and hold me worthy of the title to
their love and honor. To be the people's counsellor, is truly an honor
above all honors. My soul longs for this holy and beautiful title. With
all that I possess in mind and talent, in strength and energy, I will
endeavor to deserve it, and to become that which is the poet's greatest
and noblest recompense--the teacher and counsellor of the people!"



CHAPTER VII.

ADIEU TO MANNHEIM!


Schiller had returned to Mannheim as ducal counsellor of Weimar.
Charlotte von Kalb received this intelligence with so much joy, that
Schiller could not help feeling pleased himself. He threw his arms
around her, and demanded a kiss as a condition of his retention of the
title. Charlotte blushingly hid her face on his bosom, but he gently
raised her head, and pressed an ardent kiss on the lips which uttered
no refusal. But Charlotte now demanded that Schiller should leave her;
and when he refused, and begged and implored that he might be permitted
to remain, her eyes glistened, and a glowing color suffused itself over
her cheeks.

"Oh, Schiller, you know not what you are doing and what you demand! Do
you not see that an abyss lies between us?"

"I see it, Charlotte; but the arm of Love is strong and mighty, and
he who truly loves, carries the loved woman over all abysses, or else
precipitates himself with her into the yawning chasm."

"There is another alternative, Schiller, and a terrible one. The abyss
is crossed, and they are joined; and then afterward his illusion
vanishes--he is undeceived. The ideal has been transformed into a
very ordinary woman, whom he scorns, because her love was dearer and
holier to her than her virtue. She feels his scorn, and the abyss over
which he had borne her becomes the grave in which she voluntarily
precipitates herself, in order to escape from him she had loved. Oh,
Schiller, if the eye which has heretofore regarded me lovingly should
ever cast upon me a glance of contempt! It would crush me, and I should
die! Yet, in dying, my lips would denounce him who had known how to
love, but had not kept faith; and would arraign him as a traitor and
murderer before the judgment-seat of God! Oh, Schiller, I warn you
once more not to enkindle a fire in my breast which can never be
extinguished or repressed when once in flames, but will blaze upward
grandly and proudly, setting aside all thought of the world and its
rules and prejudices. We are now walking on the verge of the abyss;
you on the one side, I on the other. But our voices reach each other;
we can see each other's faces, and our glances can meet in loving
friendship. You are free to go where you will; and if your path in
life should lead you aside from the road on which I am journeying, I
will look after you and weep, but I will make you no reproaches! Think
of this, Schiller, and be contented that Charlotte should call you by
the name of friend! Do not demand that she should give you another
name, which you would now bless, but hereafter curse! Flee now, while
it is yet time; and we shall still have the happy remembrance of the
beautiful days of our friendship. Let us await the future in quiet
resignation, and sustain ourselves with recollections of the past!"

"You are in a strange humor to-day, Charlotte," said Schiller, sadly.
"Your eyes are so threatening, that I would almost be afraid of you,
if I did not know that my Titaness is still a gentle, loving woman
in spite of her fiery enthusiasm. No, Charlotte, you accuse yourself
unjustly. No, you would never curse the man you had loved; in death
you would bless him for the love he had once given you. You would not
denounce, but pity and excuse him whom stern necessity compelled to
separate from you--from what is dearest to him on earth. You would know
that his path was bleak and lonely, and that, like the faces in Dante's
'Inferno,' he could only look back at the past with a tearful glance
while wandering into the dreary future. This you would do, Charlotte. I
know you better than you know yourself. The woman never curses the man
she has truly loved; she pardons and still loves him when the stream of
life surges in between, and forces him to leave her."

"For those who truly love, who have plighted troth, there is no such
compulsion," cried Charlotte, her countenance flushed with indignation.
"If you say so, Schiller, you do not know what love is. You make
light of the holiest feelings when you believe that it could ever be
extinguished--that the necessities of life could ever separate two
hearts eternally and indissolubly united in love."

"How strangely moved you are to-day, Charlotte!" answered Schiller, his
countenance darkening. "I came here with a heart full of joy, and had
so much to impart to you! I came as to a happy and peaceful retreat.
But I now see that the time was badly chosen, and that Charlotte will
not understand me to-day. Oh, why is it, my dear, that we human beings
are all like Erostratus, who hurled the firebrand into the holy temple
of the gods, and why do we all desire to unveil the mysterious picture
in the temple of Isis!"

"Because we wish to look at the truth," she cried, passionately.

"The truth is death," sighed Schiller, "error is life; and woe to us
if we are not satisfied with the beautiful illusion that adorns and
disguises life, and casts a veil over death! I am going, Charlotte. It
is better that I should, for you have saddened me, and awakened painful
thoughts in my breast. Farewell for the present; and when I come again
to-morrow, be kind and gracious to me, Charlotte, as you always are at
heart!"

He took his hat, greeted her with a mournful smile, and left the room.
Charlotte's eyes followed him with a glance of dismay.

"He does not love me," she cried in despair. "He does not love me! If
he loved me, he would not have left me without plighting his eternal
faith. All that I wished to hear was, that he desired an eternity of
love; but he drew back in dismay and left me. He does not love me, and
I, O my God, I love him!"

She sank down on her knees, covered her face with her hands, and cried
bitterly.

And Schiller's thoughts were also of a bitter, and, at the same time,
somewhat disquieting nature. He avoided seeing any one, and remained in
his lonely room the entire day. He walked to and fro restlessly; from
time to time, he seated himself at the table and wrote a few lines, and
then arose, and, resuming his walking, either talked to himself or was
lost in thought.

Charlotte also kept her chamber, and avoided all intercourse with
others. Late in the evening, a knock was heard at her door, and her
maid announced that a letter had arrived from the Counsellor Schiller.

Charlotte opened the door, took the letter, and ordered lights to
be brought in. She then tore the cover from Schiller's letter; in
it she found a little note on which the few words had been hastily
written: "Dear Charlotte!--I have written down the thoughts which
our conversation of to-day awakened in my bosom; and send them to
you, for they belong to you. May we never share the fate of the poor
youth in the temple of Sais! To seek the truth is to kill love, and
yet love is the most beautiful truth; and true it is also that I love
you, Charlotte! Believe this, and let us leave the great Isis veiled!
/Frederick Schiller/."

After reading this, Charlotte unfolded the large sheet which was also
contained in the cover. It was a poem, and bore the title, "The Veiled
Picture at Sais."

Charlotte read it again and again, and her soul grew sadder and sadder.
"He does not love me," she repeated, softly. "If he loved me he would
not have written, but would have come to weep at my feet! That would
have been a living poem! Oh, Schiller, I am the unhappy youth; I have
seen the truth! My happiness is forever gone, and, like him, I will go
to the grave in despair. I exclaim, with your youth, 'Woe to him who
commits a crime in order to find the truth! It can never give him joy!'"

When Schiller returned on the following morning, Charlotte gave him
a warm welcome, extended both hands, and regarded him with a tender
smile, repeating the words from his letter, "Let us leave the great
Isis veiled."

Schiller uttered a cry of joy, fell on his knees at Charlotte's feet,
kissed her hands, and swore that he loved her and her only, and that he
would remain true to her in spite of all abysses and chasms!

But the vows of mankind are swept away like the leaves of the forest;
what to-day was green and blooming, to-morrow fades and dies!

Charlotte may have been right when she said that Schiller could love,
but could not keep faith, for, after scarcely two months had elapsed
since his return from Darmstadt, and the date of this interview with
Charlotte, Schiller wrote to his new friend Körner, in Leipsic, as
follows: "I can no longer remain in Mannheim. I write to you in
unspeakable distress of heart. I can no longer remain here. I have
carried this thought about with me for the past twelve days, like a
determination to leave the world. Mankind, circumstances, heaven, and
earth, are against me; and I am separated here from what might be
dearer to me than all by the proprieties and observances of the world.
Leipsic appears to me in my dreams like the rosy morning beyond the
wooded mountain-range; and in my life I have entertained no thought
with such prophetic distinctness as the one that I should be happy in
Leipsic. Hitherto fate has obstructed my plans. My heart and muse were
alike compelled to succumb to necessity. Just such a revolution of
destiny is necessary to make me a new man, to make me begin to become
a poet." And his distant friend in Leipsic responded to his cry of
distress with a deed of true friendship. He invited Schiller to visit
himself and his friends in Leipsic; and, in order that no moneyed
embarrassments should delay Schiller's departure, Körner forwarded him
a draft for a sum sufficient to defray his travelling-expenses and pay
off his most pressing debts.



CHAPTER VIII.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.


The preparations for his departure were soon made. Schiller had
completely severed his connection with the theatre at Mannheim several
weeks before. The actors were all inimical to him, because he had dared
to take them to task in his journal, _The Thalia_, for having, as he
said, "so badly maltreated his tragedy, 'Intrigues and Love.'" The
director, Mr. von Dalberg, had long since considered himself insulted
and injured by the free and independent behavior of him who dared array
his dignity and pride as a poet against the dignity of the director's
office and the pride of aristocracy. This gentleman made no attempt
whatever to retain Schiller in Mannheim. Schiller had to say farewell
to but few acquaintances and friends, and it was soon over. He packed
his little trunk, and was now ready to leave on the following morning.
There were only two persons to whom he still wished to bid adieu, and
these were Charlotte von Kalb and Andrew Streicher. He had agreed to
spend the last hours of his stay with Streicher at his home, and as
every thing was now in order, Schiller hurried to Charlotte's dwelling
as evening approached.

She was sitting alone in her room when he entered; the noise of the
closing door aroused her from her reverie, and she turned her head, but
did not arise to meet him; she gave him no word of welcome, and gazed
at him sadly. Schiller also said nothing, but walked slowly across the
wide room to the sofa on which she was seated, and stood regarding her
mournfully.

Neither of them spoke; deep silence reigned in the gloomy chamber, and
yet their souls were communing, and one and the same wail was in both
hearts, the wail ever approaching separation and parting.

"Schiller, you stand before me like the future," said Charlotte, after
a long pause. "Yes, like the future--grand, gloomy, and cold--your
countenance clouded."

"Clouded like my soul," sighed Schiller, as he slowly sank on his knees
before Charlotte. She permitted him to do so, and offered no resistance
when he took her hand and held it firmly within his own.

"Charlotte, my beloved, my dear Charlotte, I have come to take leave of
you. I must leave Mannheim."

"Why?"

"My position here has become untenable. I am at enmity with the
authorities of the theatre, and I no longer desire to waste my time
and talents on such ungrateful showmen. Mr. von Dalberg's short-lived
courtesy is long since ended, and he does not take my side in the
difficulty with the presuming actors. I am tired of this petty warfare,
and I am going."

"Why?" she repeated.

"You still ask, Charlotte; have I not just told you?"

"I have heard pretences, Schiller, but not the truth. I wish to know
the truth, and I am entitled to demand the truth. The time has arrived
to tear the veil from the statue of Isis! We must look the truth in the
face, even if death should follow in its train! Schiller, why are you
leaving Mannheim? Why are you leaving the place where I live?"

"Ah, Charlotte, this is a bitter necessity, but I must bear it. A
mysterious power compels me to leave here. Who knows where the star of
his destiny will lead him? We must follow its guiding light, although
all is dark within and around us! True, I had thought that it would be
the greatest delight of life to be ever at your side, to share with you
all thought and feeling, our lives flowing together like two brooks
united in one, and running its course through the bright sunshine with
a gentle murmur! But these brooks have become rivers, and their waves,
lashed into fury by passion, brook no control, and break through all
restraints and barriers. Charlotte, I go, because I dare not stay!
I will tell you all; you demand the truth, and you shall hear it!
Charlotte, I go for your sake and for mine! You are married. I go!
Your pure light has set fire to my soul; have I not reason to dread a
future based on falsehood and deception? Your presence infused into my
bosom an enthusiasm before unknown, but to this enthusiasm, peace was
wanting."

"Oh, remain, Schiller, and, if we desire it, we can both find this
peace--the peace of friendship!"

"No, Charlotte, our heart-strings are familiar with a greater harmony!"

"Well, if it be so, let the strings resound with the harmony of united
souls! Oh, my friend, if we separate, we will no longer be to each
other what we now are. I will not complain, and will not unveil the
anguish of my soul before you; and yet, Schiller, remain, I implore
you! When my candle is brought in, I will no longer enjoy its light;
all will still be dark around me, for the evening will no longer bring
you, my friend!"

"I can, and will be, your friend no longer, Charlotte, and therefore
I am going! I will be all, or nothing! This suspension midway betwixt
heaven and earth is destroying me! My soul glows with passion, and you
inhale it with every breath of life. You have not the courage to face
the truth!"

"I say, with you, I will be all, or nothing," she exclaimed,
passionately. "Truth and falsehood cannot exist together; and it would
be acting a falsehood if I gave my heart unlimited freedom, while my
hands are in chains! All, or nothing! Only no hypocrisy! I will freely
acknowledge my love to the whole world, or I will cover it with the
veil of duty and resignation. But I will not sin under cover of this
veil! Oh, Schiller, our life until now was a bond of truth, and you
wish to sever it. Fate sent you to me; moments of the purest delight
were vouchsafed us; and is the cup of happiness to be dashed from our
lips now?"

Schiller did not reply at once, but bowed down over Charlotte's hand,
and pressed it to his burning brow.

"Above all," he said, in a low voice, "above all, I know that it is
in the bloom of youth only that we truly live and feel. In youth, the
soul is illumined with light and glory; and my heart tells me that thou
canst never dim its longing."

"'Thou,' you say," she whispered softly, "then I will also say 'thou!'
Truthfulness knows no 'you!' The blessed are called 'thou!'[12] It is
a seal which unites closely, and therefore we will impress it upon our
holy and eternal union!"

She threw her arms around Schiller's neck--he was still kneeling at
her feet--and pressed a kiss on his forehead. He embraced her yet more
tenderly, and pressed impassioned kisses upon her brow, her cheeks, and
her trembling lips.

"Farewell, thou only one, farewell!"

"Oh, Frederick," she sobbed, "was this thy parting kiss?"

"Yes, Charlotte, I must go! But you will be present with me in my every
thought."

"And yet you go, Frederick?"

"Destiny so ordains, and I must obey! The world demands of me the use
of my talent--I demand of the world its favor."

"And when you have achieved this favor," she said, plaintively, "then
you will no longer care for love, or me!"

"You should not say so, Charlotte, for you do not believe it," said
Schiller, angrily. "Why these painful words? I lose all in you, but
you lose nothing in me! You are so wayward--ah, not like the woman I
pictured to myself in the days of my youth."

"Oh, Frederick," she murmured, "do you not know that I love you, and
you only?"

"I have hoped so in many moments of torment when you treated me coldly;
but only for the last few days have I felt assured of it, and, on that
account, loved, adored woman, the words must be spoken, therefore I
flee from you!"

"You know that I love you," she cried, plaintively; "you know it, and
yet you flee!"

"Yes, Charlotte, I do, because the waves of passion are surging high in
my breast, and will destroy me if I remain. Peaceful love is the only
atmosphere suited to the poet. Stormy passion distracts his thoughts
and casts a shade on the mirror of his soul."

He arose and walked restlessly to and fro. It had grown dark in the
mean while, and the figure of her friend flitted before Charlotte's
vision like a shadow, but her eyes were fixed intently on the shadow
which was nevertheless the only light of her being.

The figure now stopped before her, and when he laid his hand on her
shoulder she felt the electric touch thrill her whole being. They could
not see each other's faces on account of the darkness.

"Charlotte," said Schiller, deeply moved, "I owe you a great deal, and
I can never forget it. My youth was dreary; I became familiar with
error and sorrow at an early day, and this clouded my understanding
and embittered my heart! And then my genius found your voice to utter
my thoughts. You were my inspired Muse, and I loved you, and would be
yours forever if I had the courage requisite for such a love!--the
courage to permit myself to be absorbed in this passion; to desire
nothing more, to be nothing more, than your creature, Charlotte; the
vase only in which the boundless stream of your love empties itself.
But this cannot remain so! My soul must be peaceful and independent of
this power which terrifies and delights me at the same time. He only
is free who elevates himself above passion, and the man who aspires to
bend Nature to his will must be free."

"You are governed by pride," sighed Charlotte, "and pride has no
confidence, no repose. You are not familiar with the sorrow and
coldness of the world, or you would remain here with her who feels and
sympathizes with you! Nothing is more terrible in its self-inflicted
revenge than the determination to disregard the promptings of the heart
in life."

"I do not disregard them, Charlotte, but the heart must not be
the only axis on which my life revolves, and it would be, if I
remained near you, you divine woman, to whom my heart and soul will
ever lovingly incline, forgetting all else, and yet--I desire your
friendship only!"

As he said this he threw his arms around her, raised her up from the
sofa, and covered her face with kisses.

"Oh, Frederick, you are crying! I feel your tears falling on my
forehead!"

"Be still, Charlotte, be still, and--love me! For a single blissful
moment love me, and let yourself be loved!"

"I love you, Frederick," she cried, passionately. "You fill my soul
with anguish and delight, alternately. You love as I do! Only love
alarms you; you will not accord to a mortal that which is divinely
beautiful! Oh, Schiller, the essence of Divinity is within us;
then wherefore should our love not be divinely beautiful, joyfully
renouncing hope and desire in humility and resignation?"

He did not reply, but only drew her closer to his heart, bowed down his
head on her shoulder, and sobbed.

The silence which now reigned in the dark room was unbroken save by the
sobs of the weeping lovers. After a long and painful pause, Schiller
raised her head and withdrew his arms from Charlotte's figure.

"Let us have light," said he, and his voice now had a harsh
sound--"light, that I may once more see your beloved countenance before
I leave!"

"No, Frederick, when you leave, I will no longer require light; a
cheerless life is more endurable in the dark. No light! Let us part
in darkness, for in darkness I am doomed to grope my way hereafter,
but the light of your countenance will always be reflected in my soul.
Good-night, Frederick! You take with you all that is dear to me, even
my beautiful dreams. The most lovely visions have heretofore surrounded
my bed at night; but now they will follow you, for they came from you,
and were the thoughts of your soul. Your thoughts fly from me, and my
dreams follow them. You rob my day of its sun, and my night of its
dream. Let us therefore separate in darkness!"

"Charlotte," said he, deeply agitated, "your words sound like tones
from a spirit-world, and the past seems already to be leaving me! Oh,
do not go; stay with me, sweet past, happy present! Stay with me, soul
of my soul, beloved being! Where are you, Charlotte--where are you?"

She did not reply. Longingly he stretched out his arms toward her, but
did not find her; he found empty space only.

"Charlotte, come for the last time to my heart! Come!--let me inhale
from your lips the atmosphere of paradise!"

No reply. He seemed to see a shadow flit through the darkness, and
then the words, "Good-night, Schiller!" struck his ear like the low,
vibrating tones of an Æolian harp.

The noise of an opening and closing door could be heard, and then all
was still.

A groan escaped Schiller's breast; he felt that Charlotte had left
him--that he was alone.

For a moment he stood still and listened, hoping she would return; but
the silence remained unbroken.

"Ah," murmured Schiller, "parting is like death! Ah, Charlotte, I have
loved you dearly! I--be still, my heart, no more complaints! It must be
so!"

He turned slowly and walked toward the door. "Farewell, Charlotte,
farewell!"

No reply. It seemed to be only the echo which responded from out the
dark space, "Farewell!"

Schiller opened the door and rushed out into the still night, and
through the lonely streets, unconscious that he was bareheaded,
oblivious of having left his hat in Charlotte's room. He rushed on,
heedless of the raw night air and cutting wind.

At length he was aroused by the heavy drops of rain which were falling
on his forehead. The cold rain awakened him from a last painful
struggle with his passion, and cooled his head and heart at the same
time.

"O God, I thank Thee for sending down the waters of heaven to cleanse
my heart from passion and slavish love, and making me free again! And
now I am free!--am once more myself! am free!"

Schiller entered Streicher's apartment with a cheerful countenance, and
greeted his friend heartily; but Andrew regarded his wet clothing and
dripping hair with dismay.

"Where in the world do you come from, Fritz? You look as if you had
been paying the Maid of the Rhine a visit, and had just escaped from
her moist embrace!"

"You are, perhaps, right, Andrew! I have just taken leave of the fair
maid who had bewitched me."

"But what have you done with your hat, Fritz? Did you leave it with the
maid as a souvenir?"

"You are, perhaps, right again, Andrew. I left my hat with the maid as
a souvenir, and only succeeded in slipping my head out of the noose."

"Be kind enough to speak sensibly," said Streicher, "and tell me where
your hat is."

"I have told you already I left it with the Maid of the Rhine as a
souvenir."

"I wish you had not done so," said Andrew, in grumbling tones. "You
had better have left her a lock of your yellow hair; that would have
been cheaper, for hair grows again, but hats must be bought. Well,
fortunately I happened to buy a new hat to-day, and that you must take,
of course."

He handed Schiller a brand-new beaver hat, telling him to dry his
disordered locks and try it on.

"Andrew," said Schiller, after having tried the hat on, and found that
it fitted him perfectly. "Andrew, you bought this hat for yourself
to-day?"

"Yes, for myself, of course, but you, wild fellow, come running here
bareheaded, and no resource is left but to put my beaver on your head."

"Come here, Andrew," said Schiller, smiling, and when he came up,
Schiller placed the hat on the little bald head and pressed it down
over his friend's eyes, making Streicher a very ludicrous object.

Schiller, however, did not laugh, but slowly lifted the hat up, and
looked lovingly into the abashed and mortified countenance of his
friend. "Andrew, I would never have believed that you knew how to tell
an untruth!"

"And you see I acquitted myself badly enough," growled Streicher.
"And bad enough it is that you should compel an honest man to tamper
with the truth. Your hat had seen much service and well deserved a
substitute, but if I had had the presumption to offer you a new one
what a scene there would have been! So I thought I would exchange hats
with you at the last moment, after you had entered the stage-coach. And
I would have done so, had you not burst in upon me without a hat, and
given me what I considered a fine opportunity to make you my trifling
present."

"It is no trifling present, Andrew, but a magnificent one. I accept
your hat, and I thank you. I will wear it for the present instead of
the laurel-wreath which the German nation is on the point of twining
for my brow, but which will probably not be quite ready until my
head has long since been laid under the sod; for the manufacture of
laurel-wreaths progresses but slowly in Germany; and I sometimes think
my life is progressing very rapidly, Andrew, and that I have but little
time left to work for immortality. But we must not make ourselves sad
by such reflections. I thank you for your present, my friend, and
am contented that you should adorn my head with a hat. Yes, when I
consider the matter, Andrew, a hat is a far better and more respectable
covering for a German head than a laurel-wreath. In our bleak, northern
climate, laurels are only good to season carps with, and a sensible
German had far better wish for a good hat than a laurel-wreath. Yes,
far better, and we will drink a toast to this sentiment, Andrew. You
invited me to a bowl of punch; out with your punch, you good, jolly
fellow! We will raise our glasses and drink to a future crowned with
beaver hats! Your punch, Andrew!"

Andrew hurried to bring from the warm stove the little, covered bowl of
punch, carefully prepared according to all the rules of the art.

The two friends seated themselves at the little table on which the
steaming bowl had been placed, and filled their glasses.

"Raise your glass, Andrew; 'Long live the beaver! destruction to the
laurel!'"

"No, Fritz, I will not drink such a toast with you," said Streicher,
slowly setting his glass down. "It would be a sin and a crime for
Frederick Schiller to drink so unworthy, so miserable a toast. You are
in your desperate humor again to-day, Fritz, and would like to invoke
the very lightning from heaven, and concoct with its aid a little
tornado in your own heaven."

"Yes, of course, you droll fellow!" cried Schiller, emptying his glass
at one draught. "Lightning purifies the atmosphere and brings the sun
out again. And you see my departure is a mighty tornado, with showers
of rain, with thunder and lightning, intended, no doubt, to cleanse and
purify my life, that it may afterward flow on through the sunshine,
clear and limpid. Andrew, I go from here to seek happiness and peace."

"And, above all, renown," added Streicher, emptying his glass.

"No," cried Schiller, vehemently, "no renown for me! Translated into
good German, renown means thorns, hunger, want! I intend to have my
portion of the viands with which the table of life is richly provided.
And do you know what my purpose is?"

"No, but I should like to learn it."

"I intend to become a jurist," cried Schiller, emptying his second
glass. "Yes, that is it. I will begin a new life and make a jurist
of myself. My old life is ended, and when I enter the stage-coach
to-night to go to Leipsic, it will not contain the poet Schiller,
the author of 'The Robbers,' and other absurdities, but the student,
Frederick Schiller, on his way to Leipsic to study jurisprudence at the
university. Don't shake your wise head and look so horrified, Andrew.
I tell you I will become a jurist; I am tired of journeying on the
thorny path of the poet, with bleeding feet and a hungry stomach. All
my illusions are vanished. My vision of a golden meteor sparkling in
the sun, proves to have been only a soap-bubble; and this bubble called
renown has now bursted."

"You are again talking wildly and romantically, like Charles Moor, in
'The Robbers,'" cried Streicher; "and yet you are not in earnest!"

"But I am in earnest, my friend! The sad experience of my past life
has made me wise and practical. I will not discard poetry altogether,
but will indulge in it at times only, as one indulges in oysters and
champagne on great and festive occasions. My ordinary life will be that
of a jurist. I have given the matter much thought and consideration.
Fortunately, I have a clear head and quick comprehension, I will,
therefore, with a firm will and untiring diligence, study and learn
as much in one year as others do in three. The university in Leipsic
is rich in resources, and I will know how to avail myself of them. If
an ordinary head, by ordinary application, can acquire in three years
sufficient knowledge to enable a man to earn a comfortable living in
the practice of his profession, I can certainly attain the same end in
a shorter time. My attention has been directed to the study of systems
since my earliest youth; and in our Charles School, of blessed memory,
I have at least learned to express myself as fluently in Latin as in
German. Study, thought, and reflection, is a delight to me, and the
explication of difficult subjects a pleasure; and, therefore, I am
convinced that I can become a good jurist, and, with bold strides,
swiftly overtake the snail-moving pace of others, and in a brief time
attain that which the most sanguine would scarcely imagine could be
achieved in years."

"Then you, at least, admit that you are no ordinary man," said Andrew
Streicher, shrugging his shoulders. "And, nevertheless, you propose
to confine this extraordinary man in the strait-jacket of practical
science. Truly, I lose my appetite, and even this punch seems sour,
when I reflect that the poet of 'The Robbers' is to become an advocate!"

"You had rather he hungered, and wrote dramas, than he should lead a
happy and comfortable life, and write deeds. Ah, my friend, the career
of a poet is full of bitterness and humiliation. The wise and sensible
shrug their shoulders when mention is made of him, as though he were
a crazy fool; the so-called gentlefolk do not recognize him as their
equal, and even the players on the stage act as though they conferred a
favor on the poet when they render his dramas, and, as they say, give
life to inanimate forms by their sublime impersonations. No, no, my
mind is made up, I will write no more stage pieces, at least until I
have achieved a respectable position in the world as a jurist. Man must
always push on and possess the ambition which leads higher and higher.
Are not you, too, ambitious, Andrew?"

"Of course, I am, and will strive with all my might to obtain my ideal,
and become the leader of an orchestra."

"And I, Andrew, I will become a minister," cried Schiller, with
enthusiasm. "Yes, that is my ideal!--minister of a little state--to
devote my whole life, my thought, and being, to the happiness of
mankind, to be a benefactor to the poor and oppressed, to advance men
of talent and science, to promote the good and useful, to cultivate
the beautiful. This, Andrew, is my ideal; and this is attained if
I succeed in becoming a good jurist and a minister at one of our
dear little Saxon courts. Yes, my friend, thus it shall be! You, an
orchestra-leader--I, a minister! Let us arise with our foaming glasses,
and shake hands over it. Let this be our last toast, and our final
compact: 'We will neither write to, nor visit each other, until
Andrew Streicher is the orchestra-leader, and Frederick Schiller the
minister.'"[13]

"So let it be," cried Andrew, laughing. "Hurrah, the orchestra-leader!
hurrah, the minister!"

They raised their glasses exultingly, and emptied them. They then gave
each other one last embrace. The hour of departure and parting had come.

Andrew accompanied his friend in silence through the deserted streets
of the slumbering city, to the post-office, where the coach stood
awaiting the passengers. A last pressure of the hand, a last loving
look, and the coach rolled on, and carried into the world the "new
Cæsar and his fortunes!"



CHAPTER IX.

THE LAST RIDE.


Years, when we look back at them in the past, are but as fleeting
moments; when we look forward to them in the future, they are
eternities! How long was the year from the spring of 1785 to the spring
of 1786 to be for young Frederick Schiller, who looked forward to it
with so much hope and so many beautiful dreams!

How long was the same year to be for old Frederick, for the old
philosopher of Sans-Souci, who grew day by day more hopeless, in whose
ear was daily whispered the awful tidings, "You must die!"

He did not close his ear to these mutterings of age and decrepitude,
nor did he fear death. For him life had been a great battle--a
continuous conflict. He had ever faced death bravely, and had fought
gallantly against all sorts of enemies; and truly the worst and most
dangerous among them were not those who opposed him with visible
weapons, and on the real battle-field. It had been far more difficult
to contend with folly, malice, envy, and prejudices--to pursue his
conquering course regardless of the cries of the foolish and the
calumnies of the ungrateful.

It is easier to conquer on the field of battle than to combat
prejudices, than to extirpate abuses. And, after the days of real
battles were over, Frederick was compelled to wage incessant war
against these evils. The one great and holy aim of his life was to make
his people happy and respected, rich and powerful; and with all the
energy and strength of which he was capable he strove to accomplish
these ends, never permitting himself to be confounded or dismayed
by malice and ingratitude. Commerce flourished under his rule--the
fruits of Prussian industry found a market in the most distant lands.
Barren lands had been made fertile. The soldiers of war had become
the soldiers of peace, who were now warring for the prosperity of
the people. This warfare was certainly at times a little severe,
and the good and useful had to be introduced by force. But what of
that? Were potatoes less nutritious, because the peasants of Silesia
were driven into the field by armed soldiers, and compelled to plant
this vegetable? Did it not become a great favorite with the people,
notwithstanding their resistance to its introduction in the beginning?
Were not vast sums of money retained in the land by the cultivation of
this vegetable, which would otherwise have been used to purchase rice
and other grains in foreign countries? Had not the king succeeded in
introducing the silkworm into his dominions? Had not the manufacture of
woollen goods been greatly promoted by the adoption of a better system
of raising sheep?

But Frederick had not only fostered agriculture and industry, he had
also evinced the liveliest sympathy for the arts and sciences. Scholars
and artists were called to his court, and every assistance was rendered
them. Universities and academies were endowed.

But, while looking to the internal welfare of his kingdom, his gaze
was ever fastened on Austria, the hereditary enemy of Prussia. He
did not permit the house of Hapsburg to stretch out its rapacious
hands after German lands. Looking to the future, and contemplating his
death, he endeavored to secure his kingdom against the Hapsburgs beyond
the time when he should be no more. This was evinced by Frederick's
last political act--the formation of the "Union of Princes"--the
Prussian king's last defiance to Austria. This "Union of Princes" was
a confederation of German princes against rapacious, grasping Austria.
It united all against one, and made the one the enemy of all. The
intention and object of this union was to assist and protect each state
against the common enemy, to tolerate no trespass on the rights of any
one of them, to revenge a wrong done to the smallest member of the
union, as if it had been perpetrated on the greatest. Moreover, the
welfare of the German people was to be duly considered and promoted,
the constitution maintained, and no violation of its requirements to be
tolerated.

This "Union of Princes" was determined upon, and carried into effect,
between Prussia and all the other German states, except Austria, and
other states whose sovereigns were related to the Hapsburgs.

This union was Frederick's last political act! Against Austria he had
first drawn his sword as a young king, and against Austria this, his
last blow, was directed in uniting Germany, and making it strong in
unity, and free in strength!

He had sown the seed destined to bear rich fruit, but he was not to be
permitted to reap the harvest. His life was drawing to a close; and the
poor, decrepit body reminded the strong and active mind that it would
soon leave its prison, and soar to heaven, or into illimitable space!

But Frederick wished to serve his people to the last moment. As long
as he could still move his hands, they should work for the welfare of
his kingdom. As long as his intellect remained clear and active, he
would continue to work. At times, however, bodily pain clouded his
understanding, and made him peevish and irritable. To have occupied
himself with matters of state at such times would have been dangerous,
as his physical condition might have affected the decisions he was
called upon to make. In his paternal solicitude for the welfare of his
people, Frederick gave this subject due consideration, and endeavored
to render his bodily afflictions harmless. There were several hours in
which he suffered but little from the gout and the asthma, and these
were in the early morning, when he felt refreshed after having slept
for one or two hours.

One or two hours' sleep! This was all Nature accorded the royal
invalid, who had watched over Prussia's honor for half a century, and
whose eyes were now weary, and longed for slumber and repose. But the
king bore this affliction with the patience of a sage--he could even
jest about it.

"My dear duke," said he to the Duke of Courland, who paid him a visit
in June, 1786, "if, on your return to Courland, you should hear of a
vacancy among the night-watchmen, I beg of you to reserve the place
for me, for, I assure you, I have learned the art of watching at night
thoroughly."

But he wished to employ his hours of wakefulness in the night for the
good of his people, and ordered that the members of his cabinet, who
had been in the habit of coming to his room with their reports at seven
o'clock in the morning, should now assemble there at four.

"My condition," said the king, when he acquainted the three members
of his cabinet with his desire, "my condition necessitates my giving
you this trouble, but it will be of short duration. My life is on the
decline, and I must make the most of the time which is still allotted
me. It does not belong to me, but to the state."[14]

Yes, his life was on the decline; but for a long time his heroic mind
found strength to overcome the weakness of the body. At times, when
the physicians supposed his strength was entirely exhausted, and that
the poor, worn-out figure sitting out on the terrace under the burning
July sun, and yet trembling with cold, would soon be nothing more than
the empty tenement of the departed soul, he would gather the energies
of his strong and fiery mind together, and contend successfully with
the weakness of the body. Thus it was in the month of April, when
his physicians believed him to be at the point of death. He suddenly
recovered one morning, after a refreshing slumber, arose from his bed,
dressed himself, and walked with a firm step down the stairway to the
carriage, which he had ordered to be held in readiness to drive him
out; he entered the carriage, but not with the intention of returning
to the palace of Potsdam, but to drive to his dear Sans-Souci, to take
up his residence there for the summer.

And thus it was to-day, on the fourth of July, when the king, who had
passed the day before in great pain and distress, felt wonderfully
refreshed and restored on awaking. He sent for the members of his
cabinet at four o'clock in the morning, and worked with them until
eight, dictating dispatches and lengthy administrative documents, which
bore witness to the vigor of his mind. At eight o'clock he desired
that his friends should pay him a visit, and conversed with them as
gayly and wittily as in the long-gone-by days of unbroken health. He
laughed and jested about his own weakness and decrepitude so amiably,
that Count Lucchesini could not refrain from giving utterance to his
delight, and hailing the king as a convalescent. "My dear count," said
Frederick, shrugging his shoulders, "you are right; I will soon be
well, but in another sense than the one you mean. You take the last
flare of the lamp for a steady flame. My dear count, darkness will soon
convince you that you are wrong. But I will profit by this transient
light, and will persuade myself that I am well. Gentlemen, with your
leave I will avail myself of the bright sunshine and take a ride. Order
Condé to be saddled."

"But, sire!" cried Lucchesini, in dismay.

A glance from Frederick silenced the count.

"Sir," said he, severely, "while I still live, I must be addressed with
no 'buts.'"

The count bowed in silence, and followed the other two gentlemen who
were leaving the room. Frederick followed his favorite with a look of
lively sympathy, and, as Lucchesini was about to cross the threshold,
called him back. The count turned quickly, and walked back to the king.

Frederick raised his hand and pointed to the window through which the
sunshine and green foliage of the trees could be seen.

"Look how beautiful that is, Lucchesini! Do you not consider this a
fine summer day?"

"Yes, sire, a very fine summer day; but it is to be hoped we shall have
many more such; and if your majesty would be quiet for the next few
days, you would, with increased strength, be better able to enjoy them."

"And yet I will carry out my intention, you obstinate fellow,"
exclaimed the king, smiling. "But I tell you I will never recover,
and I have a question to ask. If you had lived together with intimate
friends for long years, and were compelled to take your departure and
leave them, would you not desire to bid them adieu, and say to them,
'Farewell! I thank you!' Or would you leave your friends like a thief
in the night, without a word of greeting?"

"No, sire, that I would certainly not do," replied Lucchesini. "I would
throw my arms around my friend's neck, and take leave of him with tears
and kisses."

"Now, you see," said Frederick, gently, "the trees of my garden are
also my friends, and I wish to take leave of them. Be still, not a
word! I am old, and the young must yield to the old. I have no fear of
death. In order to understand life rightly, one must see men entering
and leaving the world.[15] It is all only a change, and the sun shines
at the same time on many cradles and many graves. Do not look at me so
sadly, but believe me when I say that I am perfectly willing to leave
the stage of life."

And, raising his head, the king declaimed in a loud, firm voice:

    "Oui, finissons sans trouble et mourons sans regrets,
    En laissant l'univers comblé de nos bienfaits.
    Ainsi l'astre du jour au bout de sa carrière,
    Repand sur l'horizon une douce lumière,
    Et ses derniers rayons qu'il darde dans les airs
    Sont ses derniers soupirs qu'il donne à l'univers."

He extended his hand to the count with a smile, and, when the latter
bowed down to kiss it, a tear fell from his eyes on Frederick's cold,
bony hand.

The king felt this warm tear, and shook his head gently. "You are a
strange man, and a very extravagant one. The idea of throwing away
brilliants on an old man's hand! It would be far better to keep them
for handsome young people. Now you may go, and I hope to find you well
when I return from my ride."

Having intimated to the count, by a gesture of the hand, that he might
withdraw, he turned slowly to his greyhound, Alkmene, which lay on a
chair near the sofa, regarding the king with sleepy eyes.

"You are also growing old and weak, Alkmene," said the king, in a low
voice; "and your days will not be much longer in the land. We must both
be up and doing if we wish to enjoy another ray of sunshine. Come,
Alkmene, let us go and take an airing! Come!"

The greyhound sprang down from the chair and followed the king, who
walked slowly to his chamber to prepare himself for the ride.

A quarter of an hour later the king, assisted by his two valets, walked
slowly through his apartments to the door which opened on the so-called
Green Stairway, and at which his favorite horse, Condé, stood awaiting
him. The equerry and the chamberlain of the day stood on either side of
the door, and at a short distance two servants held the horses of these
gentlemen.

The king's quick glance took in this scene at once, and he shook his
head with displeasure. "No foolishness, no pomp!" said he, imperiously.
"My servants alone will accompany me."

The two gentlemen looked sadly at each other, but they dared make no
opposition, and extended their hands to assist the king in mounting.

But it was a difficult and sorrowful task to seat the king on his
horse. Deference prevented them from lifting him up, and the king's
feebleness prevented him from mounting unaided. At last chairs and
cushions were brought and piled up, until they formed a gradual ascent
to the saddle-back, up which the two servants led the king, and
succeeded in placing him on his horse. Condé, as if conscious that
perfect quiet was necessary to the successful carrying out of this
experiment, remained immovable.

But now that he was seated on the back of his favorite horse, Condé
threw his head high in the air and neighed loudly, as if to proclaim
his joy at being once more together with the king.

Alkmene did not seem to relish being behind Condé in manifesting joy,
for she barked loudly and sprang gayly around the horse and rider, who
had now taken the reins in his hand and started the sagacious animal by
a slight pressure of the thigh.

The king rode slowly down the green stairway, that is, a succession
of green terraces forming a gentle declivity in the direction of
Sans-Souci. As the grooms were on the point of following him the
chamberlain stepped up to them.

"Take care to keep as near the king as possible, in order that you may
be at hand if any thing should happen to his majesty."

"His majesty's carriage shall be held in readiness at the Obelisk,"
said the equerry, in a low voice. "If any thing should happen to the
king, bring him there, and one of you must ride in full gallop to the
physician Sello!"

The two grooms now hurried on after the king, who had put spurs to his
horse and was galloping down the avenue.

It was a beautiful day; a shower which had fallen the night before had
made the air pure and fragrant, and washed the grass till it looked
as soft and smooth as velvet. The king slackened his speed. He looked
sadly around at the natural beauties which surrounded him, at the
foliage of the trees, and up at the blue sky, which seemed to smile
down upon him in cloudless serenity. "I will soon soar up to thee,
and view thy glories and wonders! But I will first take leave of the
glories of earth!"

He slowly lowered his eyes and looked again at the earth, and inhaled
its delicious atmosphere in deep draughts, feasted his eyes on nature,
and listened to the music of the murmuring springs and plashing
cascades, and of the birds singing in the dense foliage.

He rode on through the solitary park, a solitary king, no one near
him; the two lackeys behind in the distance, the greyhound bounding
before him; but above him his God and his renown, and within him the
recollections of the long years which had been!

The friends who had wandered with him through these avenues, where were
they? All dead and gone, and he would soon follow them!

He had often longed for death; had often said to himself that it would
be a great relief to lie down and sleep the eternal sleep of the grave.
And yet he was now saddened to his inmost being. It seemed to him that
the skies had never before been so bright, the trees so fresh and
green, or the flowers so fragrant! Why long for the peace of the grave!
How delicious and refreshing was the peace of Nature! With what rapture
did the soul drink in the sunshine and the fragrance of flowers!

"From the afflictions of the world I fly to thee, thou holy virgin,
pure, chaste Nature," said he, softly to himself. "Men are but weak,
miserable beings, and not worth living for; but, for thy sake, Nature,
I would still desire to live. Thou hast been my only beloved on earth,
and it is very painful to thy old lover to leave thee."

Yes, it was very painful. Nature seemed to have put on festive garments
to-day, in order to show herself to the departing king in all her
magnificence and beauty.

The king rode on slowly through the avenues of Sans-Souci, bidding
adieu to each familiar scene. At times, when an opening in the trees
offered a particularly fine view, he halted, and feasted his eyes on
the lovely landscape, and then he would lower his gaze quickly again,
because something hot had darkened his vision--it was perhaps a grain
of sand thrown up by the wind, but certainly not a tear! No, certainly
not! How could he weep, he who was so weary and sick of life?

"Yes, weary and sick of life," he said, in a loud voice. "Men are
such miserable beings, and I am weary of ruling over slaves!--weary
of playing the tyrant, when I would so gladly see freemen around me!
No, no, I do not regret that I must die, I leave willingly, and my
countenance will wear a smile when I am carried to the grave."[16]

It may be easy to take leave of men, but Nature is so beautiful, it
smiles so sweetly on us! It is very hard to have to say to the sky, the
earth, and to the trees and flowers: "Farewell! I will never see you
more! Farewell!"

The trees and bushes rustle in the wind and seem to sigh, "Farewell!"
The falling waters seem to murmur, "Nevermore!" Ah, there is yet a
little corner in the king's and hero's heart, which is merely human; a
little nook to which wisdom and experience have not penetrated, where
natural feeling reigns supreme.

Yes, man tears himself from beautiful Nature reluctantly and sadly. He
would like to gaze longer on the flowers, and trees, and shrubbery; to
continue to breathe the fragrant air. But this man is also a hero and
philosopher; and the hero whispers in his ear: "Courage, be strong! You
have often looked death in the face without flinching--do so now!"

The philosopher whispers, "Reconcile yourself to that which is
inevitable. A town-clock is made of steel and iron, and yet it will not
run more than twenty years. Is it surprising that your body should be
worn out after seventy years? Rather rejoice that you are soon to read
the great mysteries of creation, to know whether there is life beyond
the grave, and whether we are again to be united with those who have
gone before."

"These mysteries I will solve," cried the king, in a loud voice. "I
greet you, O dead with whom I have wandered in these shady groves.
We shall soon meet again in the Elysian fields, and I will bring you
intelligence of this miserable earth and its miserable inhabitants. My
mother, my sister, I greet you, and you Cicero, Cæsar, Voltaire! I am
coming to join the immortals."

He raised his head and breathed freely, as if a heavy burden had fallen
from his soul. His countenance was illumined with enthusiasm. He
looked over toward Sans-Souci, which had just become visible through
an opening in the trees; its windows shone lustrously in the bright
sunshine, and the whole building glittered in the glorious light.

"It is my tomb," he said, smiling, "and yet the cradle of my renown. If
I knew that I could escape death by not returning to my house, I would
still do so. I am willing to yield my body to death, and am now going
home to die!"

As he said this he slowly raised his arm and lifted his old
three-cornered hat slightly, and bowed in every direction, as a king
does when taking leave of his court.

He then slowly replaced the hat on his thin white hair, and pressed
Condé so firmly with his knees, and drew in the reins so closely, that
the animal galloped off rapidly. Alkmene could only manage to keep up
with great difficulty. The terrified lackeys urged their horses to a
greater speed.

This rapid ride did the king good, the keen wind seemed to strengthen
his breast and dispel the clouds of melancholy from his soul. He had
bidden his last adieu to Nature. Death was now vanquished, and the last
painful sacrifice made.

When the king, after a two hours' ride through the park of Sans-Souci,
galloped up the green stairway on his return, the chamberlain and
equerry were astonished and delighted to find that he had met with no
accident, and was positively looking better and stronger than he had
done for a long time.

The king halted with a sudden jerk of the reins, and the lackeys rushed
forward with chairs and cushions, to form a stairway for his easy
descent, as before.

But with a quick movement Frederick waved them back. "Nothing of the
kind," said he. "I can dismount with the aid of your arm. I will,
however, first rest a moment."

He stroked Condé's smooth, tapering neck, and the intelligent animal
turned his head around, as if to look at his master and thank him for
the caress.

"Yes, you know the hand that strokes you," said the king, smiling.
"We two have taken many a ride, and gone through rain and sunshine
together. Farewell, my faithful Condé."

He had bowed down over the animal's neck to stroke its mane. When he
raised his head, his quick, piercing eye observed a young officer
coming over the terrace with an air of embarrassment; he hesitated
and stood still, as if doubting whether he might be permitted to come
nearer. "Who can that be?" asked the king, gayly. "What young officer
have we here?--Come up, sir, and report."

The young man hurried forward, stepped close up to the king's horse,
and saluted him by raising his right hand to his cap.

"I have the honor to report to your majesty," said he, in clear, joyous
tones. "I have been ordered here at this hour, and punctuality is the
first duty of the soldier."

"Well replied, sir," said the king. "Give me your arm and assist me to
dismount."

The young officer hastened to obey the command, laid his hands on
Condé's neck, and stretched his arms out as firmly as if they had been
made of iron and were capable of standing any pressure. The king
grasped these living supports and slowly lowered himself from the
horse's back to the ground.

"Well done, my nephew, you have a strong arm, and, for your fifteen
years, are quite powerful."

"Sixteen years, your majesty," cried the young man, eagerly; "in four
weeks I shall be sixteen years old."

"Ah, sixteen already!" replied Frederick, smiling. "Then you are
almost a man, and must be treated with due consideration. Mon prince,
voulez-vous avoir la bonté de me donner votre bras?"[17]

"Sire, et mon roi," replied the prince, quickly, "vous me daignez d'un
grand honneur, et je vous suis très reconnaissant!"[18] And after
bowing deeply he offered his arm to the king.

"Just see how well he speaks French already!" said the king. "We will
remain out here on the terrace for a few moments. The warm sunshine
does an old man good! Lead me, my prince."

He pointed with his crutch to the arm-chair which stood near the open
door of the saloon, and walked slowly across the terrace, supported by
Frederick William's arm.

"Here," said he, as he sank slowly into the chair, breathing heavily,
"here I will repose once more in the warm, bright sunshine before I
enter the dark house."

He looked slowly around at the terraces and trees, and then his gaze
fastened on the young prince, who stood near him with a stiff and
formal military bearing.

"Lieutenant, forget for a few moments that you are before the king.
You are at liberty to dispense with military etiquette. And now give
me your hand, my son, and let your old uncle offer you a right hearty
welcome."

The prince pressed the hand which he extended respectfully to his lips.

"Seat yourself," said the king, pointing to a stool which stood near
his chair. And, when the prince had done as he bade him, he looked long
and earnestly into his fresh, open face.

"I sent for you, my child," said Frederick, in a soft and tender tone,
"because I wished to see you once more before I set out on my journey."

"Your majesty is then about to travel," said the prince naïvely.

"Yes, I am about to travel," replied Frederick, bowing his head gently.

"But, your majesty, I thought the grand man[oe]uvres were to be held at
Potsdam this time."

"Yes, the grand man[oe]uvres will be held in Potsdam; and, at the grand
review, I will have to report to Him who is the King of kings. Why do
you look so awe-struck, my son? Perhaps it has never occurred to you
that men are compelled to leave this paradise to die!"

"Your majesty, I had never thought seriously of death!"

"And you were perfectly right in not doing so, my child," said
Frederick, and his voice had now regained its firmness. "Your attention
must be firmly and immovably directed to life, for a great deal will
be required of you on earth, and with your whole mind and strength
you must endeavor to respond to these demands. You must study very
diligently and make yourself familiar with the sciences. Which is your
favorite study?"

"History, sire."

"That is well, Fritz. Impress upon your mind the great events of
history, and learn, by studying the heroic deeds of kings, to be a hero
yourself. Above all, your aims must be great, and you must struggle to
attain them throughout your entire life. Who is your favorite hero in
history?"

"Sire," replied the prince, after a little reflection, "my favorite
hero is Cosmo de Medici."

The king looked at him in astonishment. "What do you know of him?" said
he. "Who was this Cosmo de Medici?"

"He was a great general," replied the prince, "and a great lawgiver,
and his sole endeavor was to make the people happy."

"Then you believe the chief aim of a great man, of a prince, should
always be to make his people happy?"

"Yes, sire, his chief aim. Professor Behnisch once told me, in the
history lesson of the great Cosmo de Medici, called by the people of
Florence the 'benefactor of the people.' When he felt that his end was
approaching, he commanded that he should be carried out in his chair
to the largest square in Florence, 'For,' said he, 'I desire to die
like a tender and happy father in the midst of his children.' But the
children he spoke of were his subjects, who now poured into the square
from all sides, and filled it so closely that it looked like a vast
sea of humanity. When no more room could be found on the square, the
people pressed into the houses, the doors of which had all been thrown
open; and from the edifices which surrounded the square, thousands upon
thousands looked down from the windows. Tens of thousands stood on the
square, in the centre of which, and on an elevation, the chair, with
the dying prince, had been placed. Yet, although so many inhabitants
had assembled there, profound silence reigned. No one moved, and the
eyes of all were fixed on the countenance of the dying prince. But he
smiled, looked around at the vast concourse, and cried in a loud voice.
'As my last hour has come, I wish to make peace with God and men.
Therefore, if there be any one among you to whom I have done injustice,
or any one who can complain of any injustice done him under my rule,
I beg that he will now step forward and call me to account, in order
that I may mete out justice to him before I die! Speak, therefore, in
the name of God. I command you to speak.' But no one came forward, and
nothing was heard but the low sobs of the people. For the second time
the prince asked: 'If there be any one among you to whom I have done
injustice, let him come forward quickly, for death approaches!' And a
loud voice from among the people cried: 'You have done nothing but
good, you have been our benefactor and our father. You will cause us
a pang, for the first time, when you leave us; we therefore implore,
O father, do not leave your children!' And from the vast square and
the windows of the circle of houses, resounded the imploring cry of
thousands upon thousands: 'O father, do not leave your children!' The
countenance of the prince was radiant with joy, as he listened to the
imploring cry and the sobs of his people. 'This is a prince's sublimest
requiem,' said he. 'Happy is that prince who can die in the midst of
the tears and blessings of his people!' And when he had said this, he
arose and extended his arms, as if to give them his benediction. The
whole multitude sank, sobbing, on their knees. And Cosmo fell back into
his chair. He had died in the midst of the tears and blessings of his
people."

The prince's voice had faltered, and his eyes filled with tears, while
concluding his narrative, and he now looked timidly at his uncle, who
had regarded him intently throughout. The eyes of the venerable old man
and the youth met, and their hearts seemed to commune with each other
also, for they both smiled.

"And you would like to die such a death, my son?" asked Frederick in a
soft voice. "Die like Cosmo de Medici, in the midst of the tears and
blessings of his people?"

"Yes, sire, may such a death be mine!" replied the prince, earnestly;
"and I swear to your majesty that if I should ever become king, my sole
aim shall be the happiness of my people. I will always think of you,
and remember your deeds and your words. Yesterday my new instructor,
Mr. Leuchsenring, also told me something very beautiful. He told me
that your majesty worked day and night for the welfare of your people,
and that you had said: 'A king is only the first office-holder of his
people!' And that pleased me so well that I have determined to make it
the motto of my life."

"Very good," said the king, shaking his head, "keep this motto in your
heart, but do not speak of it while you are not yet king, or it might
cause you some inconvenience. Be careful how you speak of me when I
am gone, and impress this lesson on your memory. A prince royal must
never criticise the actions of the ruling king. He must be modest
and silent, and give the people an example of an obedient and loyal
subject, even if the king should do many things that do not please him.
I repeat it,--a prince royal must observe and learn in silence. Never
forget this, my son, and adopt this as another rule for your entire
life. A good king must never devote too much of his attention to women
and favorites, or allow them to influence him, for when he does, it
is always to the prejudice of his people's interests, and to his own
discredit. I desire to say nothing more on this subject, but remember
my words."

"I will do so, sire," replied the prince, earnestly. "I will repeat
these beautiful lessons daily, morning and evening, but noiselessly,
that none may hear them."

"Well said, my nephew; but let us see how you stand in other respects.
Put your hand in my coat-pocket, and take out a little book. I brought
it with me in order that you might read something out of it for my
benefit. Have you found it?"

"Yes, sire, I have. It is the 'Fables of La Fontaine.'"

"That is it! Now open the book at random. At what fable did you chance
to open it?"

"Le Renard et le Corbeau."[19]

"Now first read the fable in French, and then let me hear you translate
it."

The prince first read the fable with fluency and a correct
pronunciation in the original language, and then rendered it with the
same fluency and correctness in the German.

The king listened attentively, often inclining his head in
commendation, and murmuring, at times, "Bravo, superb!"

He extended his hand to the prince when he had finished, and looked at
him tenderly. "I am proud of you, Fritz," he cried, "and you shall be
rewarded for your diligence. Report to my chamberlain before you go,
and he will give you ten Fredericks d'or. That is your reward for your
impromptu translation."

"No, I thank you," said the prince; "I do not deserve this reward, and
consequently cannot accept it."

"What! You do not deserve it? And why not?"

"Because it was not an impromptu translation; if it had been, it would
not have been any thing like as good. By accident I opened the book at
the same fable I had been translating yesterday and the day before with
my instructor, and of course it was easily done the second time."

The king gazed long and thoughtfully at Frederick William's handsome
and innocent young face, his countenance brightening and his eye
glistening with pleasure.

He bowed down and stroked his cheek fondly with his trembling hand.

"Bravely said, my son; that pleases me. You have an honest and sincere
heart. That is right. Never appear to be more than you are, but always
be more than you seem to be.[20] The reward I promised you you shall
have, nevertheless, for a king must always keep his promise. A king may
never recall a favor once granted, however undeserving the recipient.
But this is not the case with you, for you have really made great
progress in your French. Continue to do so, and be very diligent, for
you must speak the French language as readily as your own, and for this
reason you should always speak French with your associates."

"And I do," cried the prince with alacrity. "My instructors always
speak French with me, and are very angry when they hear my brother and
myself speaking a word of German together. I often pass whole days
without speaking a single word of German, and our valet speaks French
only."[21]

"I am glad to hear it, Fritz! The French language is the language of
diplomacy throughout the world, and it is also best adapted to it on
account of its flexibility. I love the French language, but not the
French people. I think matters are taking a dangerous course in France,
and that there will be trouble there before long. I will not live to
see it, but the crater will open and cast its abominable streams of
lava over all Europe. Prepare yourself for this time, my son. Arm and
equip yourself! Be firm, and think of me. Guard our honor and renown!
Perpetrate no wrongs, and tolerate none. Be just and mild with all your
subjects, and severe with yourself only."

"I will be as severe with myself as Professor Behnisch is with me now,"
said the prince, earnestly. "I will give myself no immunity; but when
I have done something wrong, I will prescribe a punishment for the
offence."

"Is your professor so severe?" asked the king, smiling.

"Ah, yes, your majesty, very severe. A punishment follows in the train
of every offence, and if I have only been the least bit rude or angry I
must suffer for it at once."

"That is as it should be," said the king. "Your professor is entirely
right. Above all things, a prince must be polite, and have control over
himself. But in what do the punishments he inflicts consist?"

"Always in just such things as are most disagreeable: either, instead
of taking a walk, I must stay at home and work, or my brother is left
at home, and I am compelled to walk with the professor alone, and then
we have nothing but learned conversations. Or, when I have not been
diligent during the week, I am not permitted to visit my mother on
Sunday and dine with her in the palace. Your majesty knows that we,
my brother and myself, do not live in the palace, but with Professor
Behnisch and Mr. Leuchsenring in Broad Street. Our table is, however,
very bad, and for that reason I always look forward to the coming
Sunday with pleasure, for then I eat, as it were, for the whole week.
During the week, however, our fare is horrible; and when I dare to
complain, the invariable rejoinder is, 'We have no money to keep a
better table.'"

"And that is the truth," said Frederick, severely. "We should learn to
stretch ourselves according to our cover at an early day, and to be
economical with money. Moreover, that you do not suffer hunger is quite
evident from your fresh, rosy cheeks, and vigorous body. You must eat
your daily bread with a merry face, my son, and make no complaints.
Young people should be entirely indifferent as to the quality of their
food; the indulgences of the table are a solace of old age; youth
should despise them; and a good apple ought to be as great a feast
for a young man as a pineapple for an old fellow. In later years,
when seated at a richly-laden table, you will certainly look back
with pleasure to the time when you rejoiced in an approaching Sunday
because you fared better on that day than on any other. My son, by
suffering want, we first learn how to enjoy; and he only is wise who
can find enjoyment in poverty. I hope that at some future day you will
be a great, a wise, and an economical king, and for this reason I have
instructed those who have charge of you to bring you up plainly, and
to teach you, above all things, economy in money matters. For you must
know that you have nothing of your own, and that the people are now
supporting you; and, for the present, not on account of your services,
but solely because you are a scion of your house."

"Sire," cried the prince, with vivacity, "sire, I am very young, and,
of course, have not been able to do any service as yet; but I promise
your majesty that I will become a useful man, and, above all, a fine
soldier, and will make myself worthy of being the nephew of Frederick
the Great."

"Do that, my son, make yourself worthy to be the king of your people;
and bear in mind the beautiful history of the death of Cosmo de Medici,
which you have just narrated. And now, my son, we must part. The sun is
setting, and I feel a little tired, and will go to my apartments."

"Ah, every thing is so beautiful and magnificent here, and your majesty
has made me so happy by permitting me to see you!"

"Yes," murmured the king, "the world is very beautiful."

He looked longingly around over the terraces and trees, and his gaze
was arrested by the peak of the obelisk, which stood at the entrance of
the garden, and towered high above the trees. He raised his hand, and
pointed to the peak.

"See, my son, how this peak overtops every thing else. Although high
and slender, it stands firm in storm and tempest. This pyramid says
to you, 'Ma force est ma droiture.' The culminating point of the
pyramid overlooks and crowns the whole. It does not support, but is
supported by all that lies under it, and chiefly by the invisible
foundation, built far beneath. My son, thus it is also with the state.
The supporting foundation is the people, and the peak of the obelisk
is the king. Acquire the love and confidence of the people, this only
will enable you to become powerful and happy. And now, my son, come to
my heart and receive a parting kiss from your old king. Be good, and do
only what is right! Make your people happy, in order that you may be
happy yourself."

He drew the prince, who had knelt down before him, to his heart,
pressed a kiss on his lips, and laid his cold, trembling hand on
Frederick William's head for a moment, as if to bless him.

"And now arise, my child," said he lovingly. "Do not forget this hour."

"Sire it shall never be forgotten," whispered the prince, sobbing
loudly, and covering the king's hand with tears and kisses.

"Call the lackeys," murmured the king, as he fell back in his chair,
exhausted. "Let them carry me in."

The prince hurriedly summoned the servants; and they raised the chair
in which Frederick lay with closed eyes.

For a moment only he opened his eyes to look at the prince, and to
wave him a last greeting with his hand. His eyelids closed again, and
the king was carried into his "dark house" and into the library. After
setting the chair down, the lackeys stepped noiselessly out of the
room, believing the king to be asleep. Frederick opened his eyes, and
looking around at the busts of his great ancestors, saluted them with a
motion of the hand.

"All is finished," he said, loudly. "I have seen my garden for the last
time, and have taken leave of Nature. When my body leaves this house
again, it will be borne to eternal rest, but my spirit will fly to you,
my friends, and roam with you in endless light and knowledge. I am
coming soon. But," he continued, elevating his voice, and speaking in
firmer tones, "my sun has not yet set, and as long as it is still day I
must and will work!"

He rang the bell, and told the servant to send Minister von Herzberg
(who, at the king's request, had been sojourning at Sans-Souci for the
last few weeks,) to his presence at once.

Frederick received the minister with a cordial smile, and worked with
him, in erect composure of mind and clearness of intellect, for several
hours, listened to his report, gave his decisions, and dictated in a
firm voice several dispatches to the ambassadors of France and Russia.

"Herzberg, have these papers drawn up at once," said he, as he
dismissed the minister. "The members of the cabinet must present them
for my signature to-day, in order that they may be forwarded at the
earliest moment. I must deal sparingly with my time, and employ each
moment, for the next may not be mine."

"Oh, sire, it is to be hoped that you will still have years to devote
to the happiness of your people, and--"

"Do you suppose I desire it?" exclaimed Frederick, interrupting him.
"No, I am weary, and long to rest from the troubles and cares of life.
You think I do not feel them, because I do not complain. But you must
know that some things are only endurable when not complained of. My
account with life is balanced, and, although it gave me some laurels,
yet the thorns predominated, and there was scarcely a single rose
among them. Be still! No complaints! But listen! I believe my end is
approaching--already perhaps Death lies in wait at my door--and I have
something to say to you. Madness and misrule will be the order of the
day when I am gone, mistresses and favorites will reign, and hypocrites
and impostors will practise iniquity under guise of piety. Well, this
you cannot prevent; and if the Lord should see fit to let it come to
pass, you must bear it as you best can. But when the spendthrifts
attack the treasury, when they begin to squander the money I have saved
with so much trouble, for the amelioration of the country, on their
mistresses and favorites, you must not tolerate it. You must speak to
the king's conscience in my name, and endeavor to persuade him, with
good and bad words, to consult his people's interests, and not lavish
on his favorites what belongs to the state. Will you promise to do
this?"

"Yes. I promise your majesty that I will do so," replied Herzberg,
solemnly. "I swear that I will faithfully and fearlessly obey the
commands of my great and beloved king; that I will repeat to your
successor the words your majesty has just spoken, if occasion should
require; and that I will do all that lies in my power to prevent the
expenditure of the state treasure for any other purpose than that of
the welfare of the people and country."

"I thank you," said the king; "you have relieved my mind of a great
burden. Give me your hand, Herzberg, and let me thank you once more.
You have been a faithful servant to your king, and you will continue to
serve him when he has long since passed away. And now, farewell for the
present, Herzberg; I desire to sleep a little. A cabinet meeting will
be held here at eight o'clock this evening."

"But, sire, would it not be better if your majesty rested to-day, or
else called the meeting at once, in order that you might retire to your
repose earlier?"

The king shrugged his shoulders. "There is no repose, except in the
grave; and sleep is for the healthy only." And, even after they
had left him, the king remained sitting at his writing-desk, and
arranged his papers, and wrote a letter to his sister, the Duchess of
Braunschweig.

The two lackeys stood in the antechamber, awaiting the summons of the
king's bell, and whispering to each other that his majesty was again
sitting up, and working at a very late hour, although his physician
had expressly forbidden him to do so. And yet neither of them dared to
enter and disturb him in his labors; they stood hesitating and casting
anxious glances at the door.

But, behind this door, in the king's room, two eyes were regarding
him intently; these were the eyes of his greyhound, Alkmene. Twice
had the animal already jumped up from its bed, ran to the king, and
nestled caressingly at his side, and had then, when Frederick took no
notice of it, hung its head and gone mournfully back to its cushion.
It now raised its tapering head, and looked intelligently at the king,
who sat writing at the table, his back turned toward the little dog.
Suddenly it bounded across the room, sprang upon the king's chair, laid
its slender forefeet on its master's shoulder, bent its graceful neck
downward, snatched the king's pen from his hand, and jumped down to the
floor with it.

"Be quiet, Alkmene," cried the king, without looking up from his work,
in which he was entirely absorbed. "No nonsense, mademoiselle!" And the
king took another pen from the stand.

Alkmene let the pen fall, and looked up at the king intently. When she
saw that he continued writing, she uttered a low, plaintive whine. With
one bound she was again on the back of the king's chair. Supporting her
feet on his shoulder, she snatched the pen from his hand a second time,
and jumped down with it. This time she did not let the pen fall, but
held it in her mouth, and remained near the king's chair, looking up to
him with her sparkling eyes.

Frederick looked down from his work at the little animal, and a smile
flitted over his features.

"Really," said he, in a low voice, "I believe Alkmene wishes to remind
me that it is time to go to bed. Well, come here, mademoiselle, I will
grant your desire!"

As if understanding her master's words, Alkmene barked joyously, and
jumped into the king's lap. The king pressed the little greyhound to
his breast, and caressed it tenderly. "My friends have not all deserted
me," he murmured. "I shall probably have a smiling heir, but, when my
body is carried to the grave, my dog at least will remain there to weep
over me."

He pressed the greyhound closer to his breast; deep silence reigned in
the room. The wind howled dismally through the trees in the garden; a
sudden blast dashed some fallen twigs against the low window, in front
of which Frederick worked, and it sounded as if ghostly hands were
knocking there. The wind whispered and murmured as if the voices of the
night and the spirits of the flowers and the trees wished to bring the
king a greeting.

Suddenly Alkmene uttered a long, distressful howl, and ran to the door,
and scratched and whined until the servants took heart and entered the
room.

The king lay groaning in his arm-chair, his eyes glazed, and blood
flowing from his pale lips. His physician and a surgeon were
summoned at once, and the king was bled and his forehead rubbed with
strengthening salts. He awoke once more to life and its torments; and
for a few weeks the heroic mind conquered death and bodily decrepitude.
But the ride on Condé on the fourth of July was nevertheless his last.
After that day Frederick never left his "dark house."

When the king of the desert, when the lion feels that his end is
approaching, he goes to the forest, seeks the densest jungle and
profoundest solitude, and lies down to die. Nature has ordained that no
one shall desecrate by his presence the last death-agony of the king of
the desert.

His Sans-Souci was the great king's holy and solitary retreat; and
there it was that the hero and king breathed his last sigh on earth,
without murmur or complaint.

He died on the morning of the 17th August, in the year 1786.

A great man had ceased to live. There lay the inanimate form of him
who had been called King Frederick the Second. But a star arose in the
heavens, and wise men gave it the name Frederick's Honor. The same
star still shines in the firmament, and seems to greet us and Prussia:
Frederick's Honor!



BOOK II.



CHAPTER I.

AFTER THE KING'S DEATH.


"The king is dead! Frederick the Second is no more! I come, your
majesty, to bring you this sad intelligence!"

These were the words with which the minister Herzberg, accompanied by
the valet Rietz, walked up to the bed of the prince royal, Frederick
William, on the night of the seventeenth of August, and aroused him
from his slumber.

"What is it? Who speaks to me?" asked the prince royal, rising in bed,
and staring at the two men who stood before him--the one with a sad,
the other with a joyful expression of countenance.

"I ventured to speak to your majesty," answered Herzberg; "I, the
former minister of King Frederick the Second. His majesty departed this
life half an hour since, and I have come to bring the sad tidings in
person. King Frederick the Second is dead!"

"Long live King Frederick William the Second!" cried the valet Rietz,
as he busily assisted the king in dressing himself and finishing his
toilet.

Frederick William remained silent. No words, either of sorrow or of
joy, escaped his lips. Lost in thought, or perhaps painfully alive to
the sublimity of the moment, or embarrassed as to what he should say,
in order to satisfy two men so differently constituted, he silently
submitted himself to his valet's attentions, while Von Herzberg had
withdrawn to the alcove of the farthest window, and stood sadly
awaiting the commands of the new king.

"Your majesty is attired," said Rietz, in low, submissive tones.

"Is the carriage in readiness?" demanded Frederick William, starting as
if aroused from deep thought.

"Yes, your majesty, I ordered it to be ready at once."

"Come, then, Herzberg, let us go; Rietz, you will accompany us."

"But kings should not venture into the night air, without first
breaking fast. The chocolate is already prepared. Will your majesty
permit me to serve it up?"

"No, Rietz, every thing in its proper place," said the king. "My knees
tremble; give me the support of your arm, Herzberg, and lead me."

He laid his hand heavily upon Herzberg's proffered arm, and walked out,
leaning upon him. Rietz, who followed them, fastened his small gray
eyes on the minister, and shook his fist at him behind his back. "You
will not be the support of my king much longer," he muttered between
his clinched teeth. "You and your whole pack shall soon be dismissed!
We have stood in the background and looked on while you governed, long
enough. Our time has at last come, and we will make the most of it."
His manner had been threatening and hostile while muttering these
words; but, as he now hurried forward to open the carriage door, he
quickly changed it, and he not only assisted the king in entering,
but also extended a helping hand to the minister. He then jumped up
and took his seat beside the coachman, and the carriage rolled down
the broad avenue that led to the palace of Sans-Souci. The drive was
of short duration, the horses pushing forward as if aware that they
were carrying a new king to his future. Not a word was spoken in the
carriage; its occupants, the valet included, were lost in meditation.
He also was fully aware that he was entering upon a new future, and he
swore that it should not only be a brilliant but also a profitable one.
He smiled complacently when he considered the pleasures and happiness
life had in store for him. Did not the king love him, and, still
better, did not the king love his wife, the soi-disant Madame Rietz?

"A plain madame she will not remain much longer," said he to himself.
"She is ambitious; I will place her at the head of the department of
titles and orders, but I will superintend the department of finance and
material profits. When such a good-natured couple as we are harness
ourselves to a wagon, it will be strange indeed if we do not manage to
pull it through the mire of life, and if it does not ultimately become
transformed into a right regal equipage." At this moment the carriage
turned the corner of the avenue, and there lay Sans-Souci, illumined by
the first rays of the rising sun, bright and beautiful to look upon,
although the corpse of a king lay within--the corpse of one, who but
yesterday was the master and ruler of millions, to-day inanimate clay,
a handful of dust from the dust of humanity.

The carriage halted, and, as no one came forward to open the door,
Rietz reluctantly opened it himself. The king's house was the scene
of confusion and sorrow, and could no longer be called the house
Sans-Souci, "the house without care," since its royal occupant had
closed his eyes.

The king entered the antechamber, and greeted with a kindly smile the
two valets who stood near the door. Tears rushed to their eyes, and
disregarding etiquette in their grief, they neglected to open the door
that led to the inner apartments. Rietz hastened forward and opened it,
and then followed the king and minister into the reception-room, which
was still empty, as the princes and princesses, and the courtiers, had
not yet been informed of the king's death.

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!" They will soon come with one weeping
and one laughing eye; with a reluctant tear for the departed, and a
fascinating smile for the living king, who had awakened this morning to
find a crown on his brow, and a kingdom at his feet!

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!"

How desolate is the antechamber of the departed king to-day! Not a
sound is heard! The portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour, which she
had given Frederick as a mark of her favor, hangs on the wall, and
smiles down upon this scene with its coquettish beauty. The king and
the minister do not observe it, but Rietz, who follows close behind,
looks up at the picture with a complacent smile, and thinks to himself
that his wife will certainly become quite as celebrated and honored as
the French king's flame. Why should not an empress also write to her
some day--to her, the adored of the King of Prussia, and call her "ma
cousine?" Why not?

It is only with the greatest difficulty that the valet can suppress his
inclination to burst into laughter, when this thought occurs to him. As
he follows his master into the king's study, he covers his face with
his hand, and assumes an air of deep dejection. There are people in
this room, and there might be observant eyes there also.

But no, there are no observant eyes in the king's study to-day. The men
who are present are thinking only of their trouble and grief. There are
no tears of etiquette and no sighs of assumed sorrow there. The king's
four cabinet counsellors alone are present. In accordance with his
request of the day before, they had come to his study at four o'clock
in the morning, the accustomed hour. On the preceding day they had
been admitted to his presence, and he had given them his instructions
in a weak voice, and had even steadied his trembling hand sufficiently
to affix his signature to a state document. To-day they had come,
as usual, with the rising sun, but they now saw that their sun had
set--nothing remained for them but to weep. The king did not see them,
or did not seem to see them, but walked rapidly toward the open door,
and the mourning group who had assembled in the adjoining apartment.
On a blood-stained pillow in an arm-chair lay the countenance which
was yesterday that of a king. A day had transformed it into a marble
bust; it lay there with closed eyes, in peaceful serenity--a smile on
the lips that had yesterday cried out to the sun, "Soon I will be with
you!"

The great king was with the sun; that which lay in the chair was only
the worthless casket of the flown soul.

Beside the body stood the physician Sello, in deep dejection. Behind
the chair were the two lackeys, who had faithfully watched at the
king's bedside during the preceding night; they were weeping bitterly,
weeping because he had gone from them.

Deep silence reigned; and there was something in this silence which
inspired even the valet Rietz with awe. He held his breath, and
approached noiselessly to look at the corpse of King Frederick, whom he
had never had an opportunity of viewing in such close proximity during
his lifetime.

As the king approached the body, the servants sobbed audibly. The
physician bowed his head deeper, to salute the rising star. The
greyhound, which had remained quiet and motionless at the king's feet
until now, jumped up, raised its slender head, and howled piteously,
and then returned to its former position.

Deeply moved, his eyes filled with tears, the king stooped over the
dead body, raised the cold hand to his lips, and kissed it; and then he
laid his warm hand on the brow that had worn a crown, and had so often
been entwined with laurel-wreaths.

"Give me, O God, Thy blessing, that I may be a worthy successor of
this great king," said Frederick William, in a low voice, while tears
trickled down his cheeks.--"You, my predecessor, made Prussia great;
God grant that it may never be made weak through my instrumentality!
Farewell, my king and uncle, and peace be with us all!"

"Amen!" said Herzberg, in a firm voice. "Last evening, when the shades
of death were already gathering on his brow, his majesty King Frederick
sent for me, and whispered these words, in faltering tones: 'On the
morrow you will present my salutations to my successor beside my body.'
Your majesty, King Frederick greets you through me!"

Frederick William inclined his head in response. "You were with the
king when he died, were you not, my dear Sello?"

"Yes, sire, I was."

"At what hour did the king die?"

Sello raised his hand, and pointed solemnly to the large clock which
stood against the wall on a marble stand. "Your majesty, the hands of
that clock stopped the moment the king breathed his last sigh. Sire,
behold the first monument erected to the memory of our great king!"

Frederick William looked both astonished and pleased. "This is truly
wonderful," he observed, in an undertone. "They were then right! We are
surrounded by wonders. The hand of a mysterious agency is visible in
all things!"

He walked up to the clock, and a feeling of awe crept over him as he
regarded the dial. To him the hands were ghostly fingers pointing to
the moment at which the king had died.

"Twenty minutes past two," said the king, softly. "Strange, passing
strange!"

He turned and beckoned to his valet to approach.

"Rietz, at what time did I call you last night, when I was awakened by
some fearful anxiety?"

"It was exactly twenty minutes past two, your majesty! I am certain of
it, because you commanded me to consult your watch at the time."

"Yes, that was the exact time," murmured the king to himself. "The
spirits woke me, that I might greet the new day that was dawning for
me."

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!" The king, who gave enlightenment and
freedom of thought to his people, is dead! King Frederick is dead!
A shadow darkens the sun of this first morning of the new era. This
shadow will soon become a lowering cloud, and night and darkness will
sink down over Prussia.

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!"

[Illustration: THE DEAD KING.]

Frederick William had been gazing thoughtfully at the clock. With
an effort he suddenly aroused himself. The hands of that clock
proclaimed the cessation of the old and the beginning of the new
era--of his era. He must be prepared to meet its requirements. For
the second time he approached the corpse. "Where are the king's
decorations?" he demanded of Strützki, the attendant, in whose arms the
king had breathed his last.

Hastily drying his eyes, Strützki stepped softly to the little cabinet,
and opened it.

"Leave the others," commanded the king, "and bring me only the ribbon
of the Order of the Black Eagle."

Strützki speedily returned with the designated order. Holding the broad
orange ribbon in his hand, the king now turned to the Minister von
Herzberg.

"Count," said he, "bow your head, and receive, at my hands, the last
souvenir of the great king who has cast off his mortal frame, in order
that he may sojourn with us as an immortal spirit. The ribbon worn by
Frederick the Great shall now adorn your breast, in order that the
respect and esteem which I entertain for you be made manifest to the
world. You will be as true and zealous a friend to me as you were to
my great uncle. You will serve me, as you served him, in the capacity
of minister of state; and you will be often called on for advice and
counsel, Count Herzberg."

"Your majesty," murmured Herzberg, his voice tremulous with emotion,
"your majesty rewards me beyond my deserts. I have done nothing but my
duty, and--"

"Happy is that king," exclaimed Frederick William, interrupting him,
"happy is that king who is surrounded by servants who take no credit to
themselves for the good and great which they accomplish, considering
that they have done no more than their duty. The obligation to
acknowledge their services and show his gratitude, is on this account
all the more incumbent upon him; there are very few people on earth who
can say of themselves, in this exalted sense, that they have done their
duty. But I am a very happy king; I have two such friends at my side on
the very threshold of my career. You, my dear count, I have already
rewarded for your services. Your patent as count shall be made out, and
the insignia of the highest order of the Black Eagle presented you. You
will still continue to administer the affairs of your foreign bureau.
And now, you need rest, my dear count; I know that you have watched a
great deal in the last few nights. _Au revoir!_"

After taking a last lingering look at the royal corpse, Herzberg
retired; and King Frederick William turned to the valet, Rietz, who had
stood, with his head bowed down, in order to hide the curiosity, and
the indifference to the solemnity of the occasion, which were depicted
in his countenance.

"And now, my dear Rietz," said the king, extending his hand to the
valet, "now the time has at last come when I can reward you for your
faithful services! I appoint you treasurer of my household, and keeper
of my strong-box!"[22]

"Ah, your majesty, my beloved king," sobbed Rietz, as he pressed
Frederick William's hand to his thick, swollen lips, "such grace, such
favor, I have not deserved. I thank your majesty, however, from the
bottom of my heart, and you shall always find in me a true and faithful
servant! Oh, what will my wife say, and how happy she will be, over the
new honor you have conferred upon me!"

The king withdrew his hand with a slight shudder, and looked almost
timidly in the direction of the corpse, which lay there so grand and
still. He did not see the quiet, stealthy glance which the treasurer
fastened on his countenance.

If the corpse of the great Frederick had suddenly come to life
again--if those closed eyes had opened once more--how withering a
glance would they have bestowed upon the wanton valet! But even the
corpse of a king hears no more, and the closed eyes open not again!

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!"

The king stepped slowly back, but his gaze still rested on the
countenance of the dead. Though closed, those eyes seemed to see into
his heart.

"Rietz, send for the sculptor, in Potsdam, in order that a cast of the
king's face may be taken."

"Your majesty, it shall be attended to immediately."

He hurried toward the door, but a gesture of his royal master recalled
him. Frederick William dreaded being left alone with the great dead
and the weeping lackeys! For he well knew that the bodies of the
departed were always watched over by the spirits of their ancestors.
He knew that the spirits of those who had been dear to the departed
in love and friendship, and the spirits of those who were his enemies
while they trod the earth in the flesh, were now hovering over the
body, and struggling for the possession of King Frederick's soul,
even as they struggled for the soul of Moses. But a short time had
elapsed since this had been communicated to him by the spirit of the
great philosopher Leibnitz, whom the two believers, Bischofswerder and
Wöllner, had conjured up to confirm the statements they had made to the
unbelieving prince royal!

Yes, these hostile spirits are struggling over the body for the
possession of the soul, and to remain, with this knowledge, alone with
the dead and the contending spirits, inspires awe and terror.

"Rietz, my faithful follower, remain," said the king, almost anxiously.
"But no! Call Lieutenant-Colonel Bischofswerder."

"Your majesty, he has ridden into the city to carry this sad
intelligence to the present prince royal, and conduct him here to
Sans-Souci."

"And the Councillor Wöllner?"

"Your majesty, I have dispatched a courier to Berlin to inform him of
the king's death, and he will probably soon be here."

"Ah, Rietz, you are a faithful and considerate servant. Go before and
open the doors. I will repair to the audience-chamber; the court will
probably have assembled by this time!"

He waved the royal corpse a final adieu, bowed and walked backward to
the door, as if retiring from an audience accorded him by the great
Frederick. Profound silence reigned in the chamber for a moment, until
Alkmene crept out from under the chair and again howled piteously.



CHAPTER II.

"LE ROI EST MORT! VIVE LE ROI!"


While only two poor servants and a faithful dog remained with the dead
king, the new king was receiving the congratulations of his court in
the audience-chamber.

The court officials and ministers had already assembled; and now the
princes of the royal family were coming in.

Rietz, who had remained in the antechamber, now entered and approached
the king. "Your majesty, his royal highness the prince royal and Prince
Louis have this moment arrived, and beg permission to tender their
congratulations."

"Conduct the prince to the concert-hall," said the king, "I will join
him there directly.--And Lieutenant-Colonel Bischofswerder?"

"Your majesty, he accompanied the prince royal."

The king bowed graciously. The word "majesty" sounded like sweet music
in his ear, and drowned the wail of grief for the departed.

Bestowing a kindly smile upon the assembled court, the king left the
audience-chamber in order to repair to the concert-hall, where the two
princes awaited him.

Rietz went in advance, and, as he threw open the door of the
concert-hall, cried in a loud voice, "His majesty the king!"

The two princes hastened forward, and pressed their father's extended
hand to their lips.

"I take the liberty of tendering to my royal father my most humble
congratulations." The prince uttered these words in a stiff and
declamatory manner, merely repeating them as they had been taught him
by his tutor, Professor Behnisch.

"I beg that your majesty will accord me your favor, and I assure my
royal father that he will always find in me an affectionate son and his
most obedient subject."

The king's countenance darkened as he gazed upon the prince, who would
one day be his successor. Prince royal! An unpleasant word, truly; a
gloomy and constant reminder of approaching death!--the prince royal,
who is only waiting to be king, who, like the shadow of death, is ever
at the monarch's side, reminding him of approaching dissolution. To
love one's successor is certainly a hard task; but his existence may,
at least, be forgiven, when he is the son of a loved wife, when the
father loves his child. But when the prince royal is the fruit of a
marriage of convenience, the son of an unloved wife--when the king
has another and a cherished son, whose mother he has passionately
loved!--Ah, how differently would this son have received his father! He
would have thrown himself into his father's arms, and would have hugged
and kissed him.

"Oh, my dear son Alexander, why are you not my successor? Why must you
remain at a distance? why are you not permitted to stand at my side in
this great hour? But all this shall be changed! My Alexander shall no
longer remain in obscurity--no, he shall not!"

With his two sons the king had only exchanged a few words of ceremony.
He responded but coldly to the formal congratulation of the prince
royal; and replied with a mute gesture only to the embarrassed and
stammering words of Prince Louis.

"And now go, my princes," said he; "go and look at the body of your
great uncle, and impress the solemn scene upon your minds, that you may
never forget it!"

"I shall never forget the great king," said the prince royal, his
countenance expressive of great tenderness and emotion. "No, your
majesty, I shall never forget the great Frederick. He was always so
gentle and gracious to me; and but a few days ago he spoke to me like a
kind father, and that made me feel so proud and happy that I can never
forget it, and never cease to be grateful while life lasts."

The long-repressed tears now rushed from the prince royal's eyes, and
Prince Louis began to weep, too, when he saw his brother's tears, and
murmured: "The great Frederick was also very gracious to me."

The king turned aside. His sons' tears were offensive. Who knows
whether they will weep when their father also dies?

"Go, my sons, and pay a last tribute of tears to the past, and then
turn your thoughts to the joyful realities of the present!"

The two princes bowed ceremoniously, and then left the room, retiring
backward, as if in military drill.

The king's eyes followed them as they left the room, and his
countenance darkened. "They are as stiff and awkward as puppets. And
yet they have hearts, but not for their father!--Rietz!"

The chamberlain immediately appeared in the doorway, and stood awaiting
his master's commands, his countenance beaming with humility.

"Rietz, go at once and inform my son Alexander of what has taken place!
He must go to Charlottenburg with his tutor and await me there! Let him
tell his mother that I will take tea with her this evening, and that
she may expect me at six o'clock."

"Will your majesty pass the night in Charlottenburg?" asked the
chamberlain, with his eyes cast down and the most innocent expression
of countenance.

"I cannot say," replied the king; "I may go to Berlin, and--"

"Your majesty, perhaps, considers it necessary to pay a visit of
condolence to the widowed queen at Schönhausen?"

Rietz had said this in an almost inaudible voice, but the king's
attentive ear caught the words nevertheless, and his countenance beamed
with joy.

"Yes, my friend and heart's interpreter, I will visit the widowed queen
at Schönhausen. Take the fastest horse from my stable and ride there to
announce my coming."

"To the widowed queen only, your majesty? To no one else?"

"You ask as if you did not know what my reply would be," said the
king, smiling. "No, you may also present my compliments to the queen's
beautiful maid of honor, Julie von Voss. Request her, in my name, to
hold herself in readiness to receive me. I wish to speak with her on
matters of great importance. Go, my friend!"

"To speak with her on matters of great importance," muttered Rietz,
after he had left the room. "As if we did not all very well know what
he has to say to this beautiful young lady; as if his love for her were
not a public secret, well known to the queen, his wife, to the entire
court, and to dear Madame Rietz, my wife! Very well, I will first ride
to young Alexander, then I will speed to Schönhausen, and finally I
will hie me to Madame Rietz in Charlottenburg, to make my report. My
dear wife is so generous, and I can dispose of so much money! Life is
so pleasant when one has money. And it is all the same who a man is
and what he is! If he always has money, a goodly supply in his purse,
he is a distinguished man, and is respected by all. Therefore the main
thing is to become rich, for the world belongs to the rich; and I am
quite willing that the world should belong to me. Oh, I will make the
best use of my time; and those who suppose they can fool me by their
flattery, and that I can be induced to intercede for them with the
king, out of pure goodness of heart, will discover that they have
calculated without their host. Money is the word, gentlemen! Pay up,
and the influence of the mighty chamberlain shall be exerted in your
behalf; but nothing gratis! Death only is gratis! No, I am wrong,"
said he, laughing derisively, as he gazed at a company of grenadiers,
who were marching up the avenue toward the palace, where they were to
be stationed as a guard of honor to the royal corpse. "The funeral
costs a great deal of money."

The grenadiers passed on; and the subdued roll of the drums, which were
draped in mourning, died away in the distance, while the winds wafted
over from Potsdam the sounds of the tolling bells which proclaimed
the king's death to the awakening city. Rietz hurried off to send the
son of the king to his mother in Charlottenburg, and then to ride to
Schönhausen and deliver a loving greeting to Frederick William's new
flame. It was still silent and desolate in the chamber of the dead at
Sans-Souci. Strützki had once stepped softly out of the room to get
some twigs from the elder-tree which stood on the terrace, to keep
the flies from the face of the dead king. And now the two lackeys
were standing on either side of the chair, fanning away the miserable
insects that had dared to light on this countenance since the hand of
the artist Death had chiselled it into marble. Nothing was heard but
the rustle of the twigs and the humming of the flies, ever returning,
as if to mock man's vain efforts to drive them from what was justly
their own.

The doors were softly opened, and the two princes glided in, and
noiselessly approached the arm-chair in which Frederick lay, as if
fearful of awakening him.

The prince royal looked at the body long and silently, and his
countenance was expressive of deep and earnest feeling. "Stand aside,
lackeys," said he, haughtily, "and you, too, my brother, I wish to be
alone. I wish to commune awhile with his majesty!"

The lackeys and Prince Louis retired; the former to the door, the
latter to the distant window; and now the lad of sixteen was alone with
the immortal Frederick.

He knelt down before the body, grasped the cold hand, and gazed on
the marble features of the great dead with an expression of intense
earnestness and determination.

"My great uncle and king," murmured he, "I swear to you that I will
endeavor to do all that you recently enjoined upon me; and that I
will ever strive to do honor to your great name. I swear to you that
I will one day be a good and useful king, and endeavor to deserve the
affection of the people. My dear uncle, I have a secret in my heart,
and I must disclose it before you descend into the grave. It seems to
me your sleep will be more peaceful when you learn it: I hate Madame
Rietz and her husband. And if she is still living when I become king,
I will punish her for her crimes, and will repay her for all the tears
which she has caused my dear mother. No one knows of my determination
except my mother, who recently told me what sorrow Madame Rietz had
occasioned her, and then I was so angry that I wished to go immediately
and kill her. But my mother exhorted me to silence and patience, and I
promised that I would obey her. But when I am king, I will be no longer
silent; then shall come the day of arraignment and punishment. This I
swear to you, my dear, my great uncle and king; and this is the secret
I longed to disclose. Yes, I will some day avenge my mother. Farewell,
my king--sleep in peace! and--" A hand was laid upon his shoulder; he
looked up and saw his young cousin Prince Louis, whose approach he had
not noticed, standing beside him.

"I congratulate you, cousin," said Prince Louis, impressively, "and
crave the continuance of your favor, prince royal of Prussia. His
majesty the king sent me here to pay my respects to the royal corpse
and the prince royal, but I propose to pay my respects to the latter
first."

"No," said Frederick William, who had slowly arisen from his knees,
"that you must not do, cousin Louis. I am not changed, and am no better
because of our great king's death."

"But more powerful," said the prince; "you are now prince royal, and
the greatest deference should be shown you. Oh, do not look at me so
earnestly and angrily, cousin. You think I am cold and indifferent;
but no, I have only determined not to weep over the body of our dear
uncle. My mother tells me we shall also soon die, if we let fall a tear
on the countenance of the dead. And yet, Frederick, when I reflect that
the good uncle is dead who was always so kind to me, and who was our
pride and glory, I cannot help shedding tears in spite of my mother's
injunction. Oh, great Frederick, that you could have remained a few
years longer on earth, till that proud eye might have rested on a
gallant prince and brave soldier, instead of a foolish lad!"

"But, cousin, how can you speak so disparagingly of yourself, and so
far forget your dignity as a prince?"

"Ah, a prince is no better than any one else," said Prince Louis,
shrugging his shoulders, "and while I have the greatest respect for
your exalted rank, Mr. Prince Royal, I have none whatever for my own
little title; particularly at this moment, when I see that the great
Frederick, the hero and king, was only a mortal. Oh, my dear uncle,
why did you leave us so soon! You were not yet so old--scarcely
seventy-four years, and there are so many who are older. A short time
since, as I was coming here to inquire after your health, I saw an
old man at the entrance of the park, warming himself in the sun; he
sat with folded hands, and prayed aloud. I approached and offered him
a piece of money, which he rejected. I then asked him why he prayed
and begged, if he did not desire money. 'I am praying for the sick
king,' said he; 'I am entreating the sunbeams to warm and invigorate
the king's suffering body, and restore him to new life. The king is so
young! he should live much longer. I was a soldier when the king was
baptized, and stood near by as a sentinel; and now they say that he
must die. That makes me anxious. If so young a man must already die, my
turn will soon come; and I so much desire to live a little longer and
warm myself in the bright sunshine!' And the old man of ninety is still
sitting in the sunshine; while you, great Frederick, were compelled to
die! You have gone to the sun, while we are still groping in darkness,
and lamenting your loss, and--"

"Be still, cousin!" murmured the prince royal; "some one is coming! It
is the sculptor who is to take a cast of the king's face. Come, let us
go! Come!"

He extended his hand to Prince Louis, to lead him out of the room, but
the prince drew back.

He knelt down before the body, and kissed the cold hand which had
recently stroked his cheeks affectionately. Frederick had always
loved Prince Louis, the son of his brother Ferdinand, and had often
prophesied that he would live to accomplish something great and useful.

The young prince thought of this, as he pressed the cold hand to his
lips in a last farewell. "I swear to you, my great uncle and king,
that I will faithfully strive to fulfil your prophecy, and accomplish
something good and useful, and to do honor to the name I bear. Let the
kiss which I now press on your hand be the seal of my vow, and my last
greeting!"

He arose, and his large dark eyes rested on the body with a lingering,
tender look.

"Oh," sighed he, "why am I not a painter or an artist, that I might
sketch this scene!"

"A happy suggestion," said the prince royal, eagerly. "I am certainly
no artist, but I can draw a little nevertheless; and I intend to make
for myself a memento of this day.--Mr. Eckstein, I beg you to wait a
quarter of an hour, in order that I may make a sketch of this scene."

The sculptor, who had already approached the body with his apparatus,
bowed respectfully, and stepped back. Prince Louis took a pencil and
a sheet of paper from the king's writing-desk, and handed it to his
brother the prince royal. The latter commenced to sketch the scene with
hurried strokes.[23] His brother stood at his side, looking on; behind
the chair were the two lackeys, and the greyhound's head protruded
from beneath the chair. The sculptor Eckstein had withdrawn to the
farthest end of the room. Prince Louis had, however, noiselessly glided
into the adjoining concert-room, where the instruments were kept.
There were the flutes and violins in their cases, and there stood the
magnificent piano, inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl, which the
king's hands had so often touched.

The silence of the death-chamber was once more unbroken. The body
lay there, so great and sublime in the two-fold majesty of death and
renown, and the prince royal was absorbed in his work, when the silence
was suddenly broken by subdued tones of plaintive music. These tones
came from the concert-room, and filled the chamber of the dead with low
and harmonious sighs and lamentations.

Alkmene crept out from under the arm-chair, and trotted slowly into
the adjoining chamber, as if to see if her master, whose voice she had
not heard since yesterday, had not called to her to come to him at the
piano. The greyhound, however, returned to her former position, when
she saw that it was another who sat at the piano.

No, it was not the king, but his nephew Louis, who was playing this
requiem for the great departed, and tears were trickling down over
his handsome and manly young face. Perhaps it was improper to break
in upon the stillness of the sacred chamber in this manner. But what
cared the young prince for that. He thought only of bringing the
great dead a last love-offering, and none was there to prevent him.
Etiquette had nothing more to do with the dead king. It had taken up
its abode in the neighboring audience-chamber, with the living king.
There, all was formality and ceremony. There, decorated excellencies
and gold-embroidered uniforms were making profound obeisances. There,
respectful congratulations were being made, and gracious smiles
accorded by royal lips.

"Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!"



CHAPTER III.

THE FAVORITES.


King Frederick William stepped back into the little audience-chamber,
and beckoned to his two friends Bischofswerder and Wöllner to follow
him.

He embraced Bischofswerder, and pressed a kiss on his forehead. "My
friend, you must never leave me, but always remain at my side."

"I will follow my royal master," said Bischofswerder, bowing
profoundly, "as a faithful dog follows his master's footsteps,
satisfied if he shall from time to time vouchsafe me a gracious look."

"I know you, my friend," said the king. "I know that you are
disinterested, that you are not ambitious, and that the things of this
world are of but little importance to your noble mind."

"Let it be my task to provide for your earthly as you have undertaken
to provide for my spiritual welfare. My dear Bischofswerder, I appoint
you colonel, and this shall be only the step from which you will be
rapidly promoted to the rank of general; for you not only war bravely
and daringly against visible men, but also against invisible spirits,
and it is my holy duty and privilege to reward the brave."

"Your majesty," said Bischofswerder, gently, "the only reward I crave
is your favor. I desire and solicit nothing more. The honors and
dignities which you shower upon me, and of which I am so undeserving,
only awaken anxiety by illumining my small merit, and making my
unworthiness all the more conspicuous before the world. Nevertheless, I
accept with thanks the promotion accorded me by the grace of my king,
although I would rather decline the honor, and remain in obscurity
in the shadow of your throne. But I dare not, for a higher one has
commanded me to submit to your behests, and I must obey."

"A higher one?" asked the king. "Who is he? Who commands here besides
myself?"

"Your majesty, the spirits of the great dead--the Invisible, whose
power is greater than that of all the visible, however great and mighty
they may be!"

The king had asked this question with a proud and haughty glance;
suddenly his manner altered, his countenance assumed an humble,
penitent look, his head sank down upon his breast, and he folded his
hands as if in prayer. "I am a sinner and a criminal," he murmured.
"In the pride of my new dignity I forgot my superiors; and the little
visible creature dared to consider himself the equal of the Invisible!
I now repent, beg for mercy, and am ready to yield obedience to my
superiors.--They have then spoken to you again, these superior beings?
They have imparted to you their wishes?"

"Your majesty," said Bischofswerder, in a mysterious whisper, "while
sleeping last night, I was suddenly awakened by a wondrous radiance,
and I sprang from my bed, believing that fire had broken out and
enveloped my room in flames; but I felt that a gentle hand forced
me back, and I now saw that the light which had terrified me came
from a luminous countenance, which stood out in bold relief amid
the surrounding darkness. The eyes of this countenance shone like
two heavenly stars, shedding a soft light upon me. With a celestial
smile on its lips, the spirit spoke to me: 'Your heart is humble and
guileless. You have no craving after earthly honors, and are not
attracted by grandeur and riches; but I command you to arise from your
humility, and no longer to withdraw yourself from earthly honors, for
those whom the Invisible love must also be recognized and elevated by
the visible, that their favor be made manifest before men. You will be
advanced to-morrow, and on the ensuing day you will receive a second
advancement; and what your king offers you must accept. This is the
will of the Invisible.' And after this wonderful spirit had spoken it
vanished, and all was again enveloped in darkness. I, however, lit a
candle, in order that I might have tangible proof, on arising the
next morning, that this had been no dream; I wrote down on a sheet of
paper the last words the spirit had spoken, and the hour at which it
appeared. Your majesty, I have brought this paper with me to show it to
my king. Here it is!"

The king took the writing, and read in a low voice: "You will be
advanced to-morrow, and on the ensuing day you will receive a second
advancement; and what the king offers you must accept. This is the will
of the Invisible. Command of the radiant spirit, given in the night
between the sixteenth and seventeenth of August, at twenty minutes past
two."

"The hour at which the king died," exclaimed Frederick William, with
astonishment, "and the hour at which I also suddenly awoke! Wonderful,
wonderful indeed!"

"Your majesty, for those endowed with intuition there are no wonders,"
said Bischofswerder, quietly, "and your majesty belongs to this number."

"But only in a very slight degree," sighed the king. "I am still
groping in the twilight; my eyes are yet dazzled by the splendor of the
Invisible."

"But your majesty will advance steadily toward the source of light; and
if the Invisible will permit me to conduct you into the holy temple of
infinite knowledge, I will esteem it the greatest earthly blessing!"

"Yes," cried the king, in ecstasy; "yes, my friend, you shall conduct
me; and, at the side of him upon whom this light has been shed, I will
walk in safety over the slippery paths of life. Nothing can astonish
me in the future, for the paper I hold in my hand is a miracle, and an
evidence that the Invisible is omnipresent and omniscient. At the same
moment in which King Frederick died I awoke with a cry, and at the same
time the spirit announced to you that you would be advanced by your
king--by me, who at that moment became king! My friend, I beg you to
give me this paper, this evidence of the presence of the Invisible."

Bischofswerder bowed profoundly. "All that the king's consecrating
hand touches becomes his property, as I am his with all that is mine!"

"I thank you, colonel, I thank you. Ascend the step to honor which this
day offers, and let it be my care that the prophecy for the ensuing day
be also fulfilled. And now," continued the king, turning to Wöllner,
who had stood with folded hands, his head bowed down, during this
conversation; "and now, as to you, Councillor Wöllner, you are also
deserving of thanks and reward."

"Far more deserving than I, poor unworthy man," exclaimed
Bischofswerder; "for Chrysophorus, the effulgent, belongs to the
chosen, and is the favorite of the Invisible. If your majesty empties
the plenteous horn of your favor on the head of Chrysophorus, no drop
will be lost, but all will fall on good and fertile soil."

The king greeted the noble, disinterested friend with a kindly smile,
and then laid his hand gently on Wöllner's shoulder.

"Thus I will sustain myself on you, Wöllner, and as I now lay my right
hand on you, so will I make you my right hand, as I make Bischofswerder
my head, to think for me. You too shall be my head and my hand."

"But your heart, sire?" asked Wöllner, in his earnest and solemn voice.
"Your heart you must be yourself, and no other human being must be your
heart but the king himself."

Frederick William smiled. "My heart, that am I--I the king, but also I
the man; and the head and hand which act for me, must also permit the
heart to act, as it will and can! Councillor Wöllner, has the Invisible
announced nothing to you? have you alone passed the night in quiet
slumber?"

"Your majesty," replied Wöllner, with an air of self-reproach, "I
have received no message from the Invisible; I must honor the truth,
and acknowledge that I have rarely enjoyed such peaceful and unbroken
slumber as in the past night."

"He slept the sleep of the just," said Bischofswerder, "and the spirits
kept watch at the door of our Chrysophorus."

"Well, then, I will announce to you what the spirits did not announce,"
exclaimed the king, with vivacity, "Wöllner, I appoint you Privy
Councillor of the Finances, and, at the same time, Intendant of the
Royal Bureau of Construction."

"Oh, your majesty," cried Wöllner, his little gray eyes sparkling with
joy, "that is more than I deserve, almost more than I can accept. I do
not consider myself worthy of such high distinction; and this favor
far exceeds my merit. And yet, notwithstanding the high honor my king
has conferred upon me, I still dare prefer a request; one, however,
which does not spring from any bold desire of my own, but one which
the command of the Invisible compels me to utter. I am not actuated by
earthly motives, but I must obey the behests of the spirits."

"What is this request, my dear privy councillor of the finances?" asked
the king, with a smile. "I give you my royal word that your first
request shall be granted."

"Your majesty, my request is only this: Give me your favor, your
confidence, and your esteem, as long as I live."

"This I promise you, but as a matter of course I should have been
compelled to do so, although you had not asked me. This, therefore, we
cannot consider a compliance with your request. Speak, Wöllner, and
prefer your other request."

"Well, then, your majesty, I beg to be permitted to arrange King
Frederick's papers, and prepare this literary legacy for the press."

"I commission you not only to do so," said the king, "but, in order to
remove all impediments and facilitate your labors, I make you a present
of these papers, to have and to hold as your own property. You may
print or suppress portions of them, as seems best to you. I make this
one condition, however, that you do not destroy the king's writings,
manuscripts, and papers, after you have examined and had then printed
as your insight and judgment shall direct; but that you deposit them in
the royal archives, set apart for the preservation of such documents."

"Your commands shall be obeyed in every particular," said Wöllner,
respectfully, "and that no doubts may arise on this subject, I beg this
favor of your majesty, that you make out a written order to the effect
that all the papers of the deceased king (whom I unhappily cannot call
the blessed, because he lived in unbelief and darkness) be transferred
to me by the two privy cabinet councillors of the late king; they
taking a receipt for the exact number of sheets counted out to me,
and my written obligation to return each and every one of them. And
I will certainly make haste to accomplish my task, for the Invisible
has commanded me to complete the great work with which I have been
intrusted without delay."

"And are you permitted to acquaint me with the object of this great
work, my friend?" asked the king.

"Yes your majesty, I am not only permitted, but am commanded to do
so! I am to impart to you the reasons why I solicit the papers of the
deceased king, and why I desire to have them printed. The object is,
that the eyes of your majesty's subjects may be opened, and they be
brought to the knowledge that he, whom freethinkers and unbelievers
called a shining light, was a mocker at all religion, and an atheist
who scoffed at all that was holy, and did homage to himself, the idol
of renown and heathenish poetry, only. The Invisible has commanded
me to unveil the scoffing mind of the unbelieving king, and make
manifest to the world that such a one may never hope to enter heaven
and participate in bliss. Listen, my dear king and master," continued
Wöllner, in an elevated voice, as the roll of drums announced the
approach of a body of troops; "listen to those drums proclaiming the
dawn of a new day! Hail the day which gives to millions of misguided
men a leader and a guide, destined to lead them back to the right path;
and to rear aloft the holy cross which his predecessor trod under foot!
Hail to your people, Frederick William, for you have come to rebuild
the Church of God! Hail to thee, thou favorite of the Invisible! hail,
Frederick William!"

And with a cry of enthusiasm, Bischofswerder repeated the words, "Hail
to thee, thou favorite of the Invisible! hail, Frederick William!"

The king had listened to Wöllner with downcast eyes, and the joyful
acclamations of his two friends seemed only to have given him disquiet
and anxiety.

"I am an unworthy sinner," murmured the king, in a penitent voice, "and
if you do not take pity on me and intercede for me with the Invisible,
I am a lost man. I implore you both to sustain me with a helping hand,
that I may not fall to the ground."

"The Invisible has commanded us to stay at your side and devote our
lives to your welfare," said Wöllner, solemnly.

"And even if he had not," cried Bischofswerder, feelingly, "my own
heart would have prompted me to do so, for I am my king's alone, and am
ready to shed my blood for him. Tell us, therefore, what we are to do,
and what is required to restore peace to your soul."

"Say, to my heart, my faithful friend," cried the king, "for it is my
heart that needs peace. I love, love with glowing passion. And yet I
have sworn in the holy lodge of the Invisible to dedicate my life to
virtue. Oh, tell me, tell me, my friends, how can I keep my vow without
giving my heart the death-blow! Do not let me sink in despair, but take
pity on me. I feel sick and miserable; the torment of love and the
conflict with duty rob me of all strength and courage. Oh, help me,
help me! You, my friend Bischofswerder, let me drink once more of the
elixir of life, which the great magician, Cagliostro, intrusted you
with; give me once more life, health, and happiness!"

"Your majesty knows," replied Bischofswerder, "that I gave you the last
drop of the precious elixir, given me by the great magician, to infuse
new life and health into my veins, when the hour of death should draw
near. I joyfully delivered myself over to death in order that my king
might have new life; and I now learn, with the greatest sorrow, that it
was not sufficient to accomplish its object. But what I would never
do for myself, I will now do for my king. I will entreat the Invisible
to impart to me the secret of the preparation of this elixir of life;
I will address my thoughts to this magician with all the strength of
my soul, and conjure him to appear and instruct me how to concoct the
elixir of life for my king and master."

"Ah," sighed the king, sadly, "if it is necessary that the magician
should appear here, personally, in order to impart to you this
wonderful secret, my wish will probably never be gratified, for
Cagliostro is at present, as my ambassador yesterday informed me, in
London; and the believers are pouring into that city, from all parts of
Europe, to see the sublime martyr, who languished in a French prison,
on account of the unhappy necklace affair, until his innocence was
proved, when he was restored to liberty, on condition that he should
leave France at once and never recross its boundaries. Cagliostro then
went to London, where he is now receiving the homage of his admirers;
and there he expects to remain, as he informed our ambassador. How can
your prayers and entreaties have sufficient power to call the magician
here from so great a distance? His sublime spirit is united with the
body, and is subject to finite laws."

"No, my king," replied Bischofswerder, quietly, "the sublime magician,
Cagliostro is uncontrolled by these laws. The miraculous power of his
spirit governs the body, and it must obey his behests. I read in your
soul that you are in doubt, my king, and that you do not believe in the
dominion of the spirit. But your majesty must learn to do so, for in
this belief only are safety and eternal health to be found for you and
for us all. I will invoke the Invisible in the coming night; and, if
my prayer be heard, the magician of the North will appear in our midst
this very night, to give ear to my entreaties."

"If this should occur," cried the king, "I am forever converted to
this belief, and nothing can hereafter make me waver in my trust and
confidence in you, my Bischofswerder!"

"It will occur," said Bischofswerder, quietly. "I beg that your majesty
will call Chrysophorus and myself to your chamber at the next midnight
hour, in order that we may invoke the Invisible in your presence."

"At the next midnight hour?" repeated the king, in confusion.
Bischofswerder's quick, piercing glance seemed to read the king's
inmost thoughts in his embarrassed manner.

"I know," said he, after a pause, "that your majesty intended to pass
this night in Charlottenburg with your children and their mother; and
if your majesty commands, we will meet there at the midnight hour."

"Do so, my friends," said the king, hastily, "I will await you in
Charlottenburg, at the appointed time, although I scarcely believe you
will come; and doubt, very much, whether Bischofswerder's incantations
will have power to call the great magician to my assistance. Oh, I
am greatly in need of help. If you are really my friends, and if the
Invisible has anointed your eyes with the rays of knowledge, you also
must know what torments my soul is undergoing!"

"And we do know," said Bischofswerder. "It has been announced to us."

"And we do know," repeated Wöllner, "the Invisible has commanded me
to implore his dearest son, King Frederick William, not to burden his
conscience with new sin, but to renounce the passion which is burning
in his heart."

"I cannot, no, I cannot!" exclaimed Frederick William; and with a cry
of anguish he buried his face in his hands.

His two confidants exchanged a rapid glance; and Bischofswerder, as if
answering an unspoken but well-understood question of Wöllner's, shook
his head dissentingly. He then stooped down to the lamenting, moaning
king.

"Your majesty," whispered he, "to-night we will also ask the Invisible
if he will not have indulgence with the king's love; and permit the
beautiful Fräulein von Voss to become the wife of the man she loves?"

"Oh, if this could be brought about!" cried the king, throwing his arms
around his friend's neck, "I could be the happiest of mortals, and
would gladly resign to you my whole kingdom to dispose of it as you see
fit. Give me the woman I love, and I will give you my royal authority!"

Again the two confidants exchanged rapid glances, and Wöllner bowed his
head in assent.

"We will entreat the Invisible to-night," said Bischofswerder--"and I
hope that he will grant what your majesty desires."

"But, if so, certain conditions will be exacted, and penance enjoined,"
said Wöllner.

"I am ready to consent to all his demands, and to do all he enjoins, if
he will only give me this heavenly woman."



CHAPTER IV.

THE MAID OF HONOR.


No intelligence of the demise of the great king had as yet arrived at
the palace of Schönhausen, the residence of Queen Elizabeth Christine,
Frederick's wife. It was still early in the morning, and the queen, who
was in the habit of sending a special courier to Potsdam every day, to
inquire after the king's health, was now writing the customary morning
letter to her husband.

She had just finished the letter, and was folding the sheet, when the
door of the adjoining chamber was opened, and a tall and remarkably
beautiful young lady appeared on the threshold. Her rich, light,
and unpowdered hair fell in a profusion of little locks around her
high-arched brow. Her large, almond-shaped eyes were of a clear,
luminous blue, her delicately-curved nose gave her countenance an
aristocratic expression; and from her slightly-pouting crimson lips,
when she smiled, all the little Cupids of love and youth seemed to send
their arrows into the hearts of the admirers of the lovely maid of
honor, Julie von Voss. Her tall and slender figure showed the delicate
outline and the rich fulness which we admire in the statues of Venus,
and there was, at the same time, something of the dignified, severe,
and chaste Juno in her whole appearance--something unapproachable, that
demanded deference, and kept her worshippers at a distance, after they
had been attracted by her alluring beauty.

The queen greeted her maid of honor, who bowed profoundly, with a
gentle smile. "You have come for my letter, have you not, my child? The
courier is waiting?"

"No, your majesty," replied the maid of honor, in a somewhat solemn
voice. "No, it is not a question of dispatching a courier, but of
receiving one who begs to be permitted to see you. The valet of your
royal nephew Frederick William is in the antechamber, and desires to be
admitted to your presence."

The queen arose from her sofa with a vivacity unusual in one of her
age. "The valet of my nephew?" said Elizabeth Christine, with quivering
lips--"and do you know what brings him here?"

"He will impart his mission to your majesty only," replied the maid
of honor; and when the queen sank back on the sofa, and told her in
faltering tones to admit the courier, she threw the door open, and
summoned the valet with a proud wave of the hand. And straightway the
broad, colossal figure of the royal privy chamberlain Rietz appeared
on the threshold. With a smile on his thick lips, and his little gray
eyes fixed intently on the pale old lady, who stared at him with an
expression of breathless anxiety, the chamberlain entered, and walked
across the wide room to the queen's sofa with the greatest composure,
although she had expressed no desire that he should do so.

"Your majesty," said he, without waiting permission to speak, "I have
been sent by his majesty King Frederick William--"

The queen interrupted him with a cry of anguish. "By King Frederick
William!" she repeated, in faltering tones. "He is then dead?"

"Yes," replied Rietz, inclining his head slightly. "Yes, King Frederick
died last night; and he who was heretofore Prince of Prussia is now
King of Prussia. His majesty sends the widowed queen his most gracious
and devoted greeting; and orders me to inform her majesty that he will
arrive here during the day to pay her a visit of condolence."

The queen paid no attention to the chamberlain's words; of all that
he had spoken, she heard but this, that her husband, that Frederick
the Great, was dead, that the man she had loved with such fidelity and
resignation for the last fifty years was no longer among the living.

"He is dead! Oh, my God, he is dead!" she cried, in piercing accents.
"How can life continue, how can the world exist, now that Frederick is
no more! What is to become of unhappy Prussia, when the great king no
longer reigns; what can it be without his wisdom and strength, and his
enlightened mind?"

"Your majesty forgets that the king has a glorious successor," remarked
Rietz, with cynical indifference.

A dark frown gathered on the brow of the maid of honor, Julie von Voss,
when the chamberlain uttered these impertinent words; and she glanced
haughtily at his broad, self-complacent countenance.

"Leave the room," said she, waving her hand imperiously toward the
door; "wait in the antechamber till you are called to receive her
majesty's reply and commands."

The chamberlain's countenance flushed with anger, but he quickly
suppressed all outward manifestation of feeling, and assumed an humble
and respectful manner.

"Your grace commands," said he, "and I am her zealous and obedient
servant, ever ready to do her bidding. And herein I know that I am
only fulfilling the desire of my royal master, who--"

"Leave the room at once!" cried the maid of honor, her cheeks flushing
with anger.

"No," said the queen, awakening from her sad reverie; "no, let good
Rietz remain, dear Julie. He must tell me of the great dead. I must
know how he died, and how his last hours passed.--Speak, Rietz, tell
me."

The chamberlain described the king's last hours in so ready and adroit
a manner, managing to introduce the person of the new king so cleverly
into his narrative, and accompanying his remarks with such intelligent
and significant looks at the maid of honor, that she blushingly avoided
his glances, and pressed her lips firmly together, as if to suppress
the angry and resentful words her rosy lips longed to utter.

"I left his majesty King Frederick William in the death-chamber," said
Rietz, as he finished his narrative. "But, even in the depth of his
grief for his royal uncle, he thought of the living whom he loves so
dearly, and commanded me to hasten to Schönhausen, to announce that
he intended to gratify the longings of his heart by coming here, and
that--"

"Will not your majesty dismiss the messenger?" interrupted the maid of
honor in an angry voice.

"Yes, he may go," murmured Elizabeth Christine. "Tell the king my
nephew that I await him, and feel highly honored by the consideration
shown me."

"Your majesty, love and admiration draw him to Schönhausen," observed
Rietz. "I can assure you of this, for the king confides every thing to
me, and often calls me his--"

"Figaro," added the maid of honor, with a contemptuous curl of her
proud lips.

"His friend," continued Rietz, without, as it seemed, having heard this
cutting word. "I have the honor to know all my master's heart-secrets,
and--"

"To be the husband of Wilhelmine Enke," exclaimed the maid of honor,
passionately. "Your majesty, will you not dismiss the messenger?"

"You may go, Rietz," said the queen, gently. But Rietz still hesitated,
and fastened his gaze upon the young lady, with a smiling expression.

"Your majesty," said she, "I believe he is waiting for a gratuity; and
we will not be rid of him until he receives it."

Rietz broke out into loud laughter, regardless of the presence of the
mourning and weeping queen. "This is comical," he cried. "This I will
relate to his majesty; it will amuse him to learn that this young
lady offers his privy chamberlain and treasurer a gratuity. He will
consider it quite bewitching on her part, for his majesty finds every
thing she does bewitching. But I am not waiting for a gratuity, but for
permission to deliver to Mademoiselle von Voss the messages which his
majesty intrusted to me for her grace, and I therefore beg the young
lady--"

"Go out of the room, and wait in the antechamber until I send for you!"
said the maid of honor, imperiously.

"And will you soon do so?" asked Rietz, with unruffled composure. "I
take the liberty to remark, that I have other commissions to execute
for his majesty, and therefore I ask whether you will soon call me?"

"You have nothing to ask, but only to obey," said the young lady,
proudly.

Rietz shrugged his shoulders; bowed profoundly to the queen, who
was wholly occupied with her grief, and had heard nothing of this
conversation, and then left the room with a firm step.

"She is very proud, very haughty," growled Rietz in a low voice, as he
threw himself into a chair in the antechamber with such violence, that
it cracked beneath him. "That she is, and it will require much trouble
to tame her. But she shall be tamed nevertheless; and the day will come
when I can repay her abuse with interest. Figaro she called me. I know
very well what that means; my French education has not been thrown
away. Yes, yes, Figaro! I understand! The ever-complaisant servant of
Count Almaviva, and the negotiator in the affair with the beautiful
Rosine. Oh, my young lady, take care! I am the Figaro, to-day,
helping to capture the fair Rosine, in order to deliver her over to
Count Almaviva. But I, too, have my beautiful Susanna; and some day,
when Almaviva wearies of his divine Rosine, he will turn again to my
Susanna; and you will then be thrown in the background. Figaro! Ah, my
lovely maid of honor, I will give you cause to remember having called
me this name! I will speak to my wife about this matter before the day
is over!"



CHAPTER V.

FIGARO.


While Rietz was sitting in the antechamber, in an angry and resentful
frame of mind, the maid of honor was still at the queen's side,
endeavoring to console her with tender words and entreaties.

"After all, your majesty is but suffering an imaginary loss," said the
maid of honor finally, after she had exhausted all other grounds of
consolation. "For you, all will be just as it was before, as it has
been for many years; and it should be all the same to your majesty
whether the king has died, or is still remaining in Sans-Souci, for you
were widely separated in either case."

"But I was always with him in thought," lamented Elizabeth Christine.
"I knew that he lived, that we breathed the same air, that the ray of
sunshine which warmed me, fell also on his dear, noble head. I knew
that the eyes of the country were directed toward Sans-Souci; and that
the great king's every word found an echo throughout all Europe. It
did me good, and was my consolation for all other wants, that this
great hero and king, who was worshipped and admired by the world,
sometimes thought of his poor wife, in his infinite goodness, and
sometimes shed a ray of light on her dark and solitary life. I was
permitted to be at his side on every New-Year's-Day, and hold with him
the grand court-reception. And I always looked forward to this event
with rejoicing throughout the entire year, for he was ever the first
to congratulate me, although in silence; and then he looked at me so
kindly and mildly with his wondrous eyes, that my heart overflowed with
happiness and bliss."

"But he never spoke to your majesty, the cruel, unfeeling king!" said
the maid of honor, shrugging her shoulders.

"Do not abuse him," said the queen, warmly. "He was not cruel, not
unfeeling. For if he had been so, he would have sundered the tie which
bound him to the unloved woman who had been forced upon him when he
became king. But he was mild and gentle; he tolerated me, and I was
permitted to love him and call myself his, although he was never mine.
Instead of banishing me, as he might have done, he endured me, and
accorded me the royal honors due his wife. True, I have not often seen
him, and have very rarely spoken to him; but yet I heard and knew of
him, and he never permitted my birthday to pass without writing me a
letter of congratulation. Once, however--once he went so far in his
goodness as to hold the New-Year's reception here in Schönhausen,
because an accident which happened to my foot prevented my coming to
Berlin. Oh, I shall never forget that day, for it was the only time
the king visited me here; and since then it seems to me that the sun
has never set, but still gilds the apartments through which Frederick
had wandered. On that day," continued the queen, with a sad smile,
absorbed in her recollections of the past, "on that day, something
occurred which astonished the court, and was talked of in all Berlin.
The king, who, on similar occasions in the city, had only looked at and
saluted me from a distance, walked up to my side, extended his hand,
and inquired after my health in the most kind and feeling manner. I
was so confused and bewildered by this unexpected happiness, that I
almost fainted. My heart beat wildly, and I found no strength to utter
a single word in reply, that is, if my tears were not an answer.[24]
But since that day the king has never spoken to me. The words, however,
which he then uttered have always resounded in my ear like sweet music,
and will lull me to sleep in the hour of death."

"Oh," exclaimed the maid of honor, in astonishment and indignation,
"how can it be possible to love in such a manner?"

The queen, who had entirely forgotten that she was not speaking to
herself, and that another listened to her plaintive wail, raised her
head quickly, her blue eyes sparkling as if she had been but seventeen
instead of seventy years old.

"How could it be possible not to love in such a manner, when one loved
Frederick the Great?" said she, proudly. "I had made this love my life,
my religion, my hope of immortality. I gave to this love my whole
soul, my every thought and feeling; and it gave me, in return, joyful
resignation and the strength to endure. Without this, my great, my
beautiful love, I would have perished in the solitude and desolation
of my being; but from it my life derived its support, its enthusiasm,
and its perpetual youth. Years have whitened my hair and wrinkled my
countenance, but in the poor, miserable body, in the breast of this
old woman, throbs the heart of a young girl; and it bears me on with
its youthful love, through and beyond all time and trouble, to those
heights where I will once more behold him, and where he will, perhaps,
requite the love he here despised. Love never grows old; when the heart
is filled with it, years vanish like fleeting dreams, and it encircles
mortality with the halo of undying youth! Therefore it must not
surprise you, Julie, that the old woman you see before you can speak of
her love. It was the love of my youth, and still makes me young. And
now go, my child, and leave me alone with my recollections, and the
great dead! I have much to say to him that God only may hear! Go, my
child, and if, at some future day, you should love and suffer, think of
this hour!"

She greeted the young lady with a gentle wave of the hand, and as the
maid of honor left the room she saw the queen fall on her knees.

Slowly, and with her head bowed down, Julie von Voss walked through
the adjoining rooms to her own apartments. "I will never love like
this, and consequently never suffer like this," said she to herself. "I
cannot comprehend how one can lose and forget one's self so completely
in another, particularly when this other person does not love as
ardently--as ardently as I am loved by--"

She stopped and blushed, and a slight tremor ran through her being. "I
should like to know whether he loves me as passionately as this woman
has loved her husband, whether--But," exclaimed she, interrupting her
train of thought, "I had entirely forgotten that his valet is waiting
to deliver a message."

Immediately on entering her parlor, she rang the bell, and ordered her
chambermaid to show the valet, Rietz, who was waiting in the queen's
antechamber, up to her apartments at once. She then walked slowly to
and fro; she sighed profoundly, and her lips whispered in low tones,
"I do not love him! No, I do not love him; and yet I will no longer be
able to resist him, for they are all against me; even my own relatives
are ready to sacrifice me. That they may become great, I am to be
trodden in the dust; and that they may live in honor, I am to live
in shame! But I will not!" she cried, in a loud voice; and she stood
proudly erect, and held up her beautiful head. "No, I will not live
in shame; every respectable woman shall not have the right to point
the finger of scorn at me, and place me in the same category with the
brazen-faced wife of the abominable Rietz! They shall not have the
right to call Julie von Voss the king's mistress! No, they shall not,
and--"

"The king's privy chamberlain," announced the maid, and behind her
Rietz walked into the parlor.

"Poor Figaro has been compelled to wait a long time, my lady," said he,
with a mocking smile. "You have treated Figaro's master, who longs for
an answer, very cruelly."

"I did not ask your opinion of my conduct," said the maid of honor,
haughtily. "You are the king's messenger; speak, therefore, and execute
his majesty's commands."

"Ah, this is not a question of commands, but of entreaties only--the
king's entreaties. His majesty begs that he may be permitted to see you
after he has paid his visit of condolence to the widowed queen."

"Etiquette requires that I shall be present when her majesty, the
widowed queen, receives his visit. And if his majesty desires to
speak with me, I beg that he will graciously avail himself of that
opportunity."

"Ah, but that will not answer," said Rietz, with a smile. "When his
majesty expresses a desire to visit my lady here in her own apartments,
he probably has something to say, not intended for the ears of other
ladies. Perhaps his majesty wishes to speak with my lady about the
widowed queen and her condition, and to ask your advice as to the
proper arrangement of her household. I believe the king intends to
place it on a far better footing, for he spoke a few days since with
real indignation of the paltry salary received by Queen Elizabeth
Christine's maids of honor--hardly sufficient to give them a decent
support. The king will consider himself in duty bound to raise the
salaries of these ladies; and you would certainly confer a great
pleasure on his majesty by making known to him the amount you desire,
and command for yourself. And you must not hesitate to mention a very
considerable sum, for his majesty is generous, and will be happy to
fulfil your wishes. It would, perhaps, be well for my lady to give me
some hints in advance, in order that I may prepare his majesty. I shall
be inexpressibly happy if my lady will permit me to be her most devoted
servant, and it might also be of great advantage to her, for all Berlin
and Potsdam--yes, all Prussia, knows that I am the king's factotum."

"Did his majesty commission you to utter all these impertinences?"
asked Julie, coldly.

"How so,--impertinences?" asked Rietz, bewildered by the proud and
inconsiderate manner of the lady, who regarded him, the almighty
factotum, so contemptuously. "I have not, I certainly did not--"

"Silence! I listened to you out of respect for the king. And now, out
of respect for myself, I command you to leave the room immediately. I
will ask his majesty if he authorized his valet to tell me any thing
else than that the king intended to honor me with a visit. Go!"

She proudly turned her back on the chamberlain, and walked through the
room. She felt that she was suddenly held back. It was Rietz, who had
caught hold of her dress, and he now sank on his knees, and looked up
to her imploringly.

"Forgiveness, my lady, forgiveness! I have surely expressed myself
badly, for otherwise my lady could not desire to leave the most devoted
of her servants in anger. I only intended to say, that--"

"That you are the wedded husband of Wilhelmine Enke," cried the young
lady with a mocking peal of laughter; and she withdrew her garment as
violently as if a venomous serpent had touched it. She then left the
room, still laughing, and without even once looking at the kneeling
chamberlain.

Rietz arose from his knees; and his countenance, before all smiles,
now assumed a dark and malignant expression. He shook his fist
threateningly toward the door through which she had left the room,
and his lips muttered imprecations. And now he smiled grimly. "Yes,"
said he, "I am Wilhelmine Enke's husband, and that will be your ruin
at some future day! Threaten and mock me as you please; you are,
nevertheless, nothing better than the bird that flies into the net to
eat the alluring red berries placed there to entice it to inevitable
destruction. The net is set, the red berries are scattered around; and
you will not resist the temptation, my charming bird; you will be
caught, and will perish!" And, laughing maliciously, he turned and left
the room.

The maid of honor, Julie von Voss, had not heard his malignant words,
and yet her heart was filled with anxiety and tormenting disquiet; and
when the door opened, and her brother, the royal chamberlain, Charles
von Voss, entered, she cried out in terror, and sank into a chair,
covering her face with her hands.

"But, Julie," said her brother, angrily, "what does this childishness
mean--what is the matter? Why does my presence terrify you?"

"I do not know," said she, "but when you appeared in the doorway, just
now, it seemed to me that I saw the tempter coming to allure me to sin
and shame!"

"Very flattering, indeed," observed her brother, "but there may be
something in it. Only you forget to add that the tempter intends to
offer you a world. What did Satan say to Christ when he had led Him up
a mountain and showed Him the world at His feet? 'This will I give Thee
if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' Julie, I also come to offer
you a part of the world; to lay a kingdom, a crown, and a king at your
feet."

"Have you seen the king? Has he spoken with you?" asked Julie,
breathlessly.

"He sends me in advance, as _postillon d'amour_, and will soon be here
himself."

"I will not see him," cried the maid of honor, stretching out both
hands as if to ward off his approach. "No, never! He shall not visit
me; I will lock my door, and not open it until he has gone, until he
ceases to pursue and torment me!"

"My dear," said he, quietly, "I have come to speak with you seriously.
You must now come to some decision; or rather, you must decide to
do that which your family, which reason, policy, ambition, and
pride counsel. You have bound the king in your toils with admirable
ingenuity, and I congratulate you. No lion-tamer can tame the king of
the desert more skilfully, and with greater success, than you have
tamed your royal lion, who follows your footsteps like a lamb. This
taming has been going on for three years, and your cruelty has only had
the effect of making him more tender and affectionate. But there are
limits to every thing, my discreet sister; and if the rope is drawn too
tightly, it breaks."

"If it would only do so!" cried Julie, despairingly. "That is exactly
my desire, my object. Oh, my brother, you and all my cruel relatives
deceive yourselves about me; and what you consider the finesse of
coquetry, is only the true and open expression of my feelings! For
three years the king has pursued me with his love, and for three years
I have met his advances with coldness and indifference. In every
manner, by word, look, and gesture, have I given him to understand that
his love was annoying, and his attentions offensive. Oh, that I could
fly from this unendurable, fearful love, to the uttermost ends of the
world! But I cannot go, for I am poor, and have not the means to live
elsewhere, and free myself from the terrible fetters in which you are
all endeavoring to bind me!"

"And besides, my dear sister, acknowledge that your own heart persuades
you to remain. You love the king?"

"No," she cried, passionately, "no, I do not love him, although I must
admit that I have seen no man I liked better. But I do not love him;
my heart beats no quicker when he approaches, my soul does not long
for him when he is at a distance; and at times, when the king is at my
side, a terrible feeling of anxiety creeps over me, and I wish to flee,
and cry out to the whole world--'Rescue me, rescue me from the king!'
No, I do not love the king; and if I meet his advances coldly, it is
not from policy, but because my heart prompts me to do so. Therefore,
renounce all thought of winning me over to your plans. I will not
become the associate of Wilhelmine Enke!"

"And truly you shall not," said her brother, earnestly. "On the
contrary, my beautiful and discreet sister, you shall displace this
unworthy person; you shall become the benefactress of Prussia, and,
through you, virtue and morality shall once more stand in good repute
at the court of our young and amiable king."

The eyes of the beautiful maid of honor sparkled, and a soft color
suffused itself over her cheeks. "If that were possible," she cried, in
joyous tones--"yes, if I could succeed in delivering the king from this
unworthy bondage, if I could make this hateful person harmless, this
indeed were an object for which much could be endured."

"You hate her, then, this Wilhelmine Rietz?"

"And who should not hate her?" asked Julie, passionately. "She is the
disgrace of her sex; she heaps dishonor on the head of our noble and
genial king; she has caused his wife so many tears, and--"

"And you, too, is it not so?" asked her brother, smiling. "My beautiful
Julie, you have betrayed yourself, you are jealous. But one is jealous
only when one loves. Do not longer deny it--you love the king."

"No, no, I do not, I will not love him," she cried, "for shame would
kill me. Oh, my brother, I conjure you, do not demand of me that I
deliver myself over to shame! Take pity on me, do not force me to
abandon my quiet and peaceful life. I will be contented to remain here
in this solitude at the side of the unhappy queen, to pass my days in
_ennui_ and loneliness. I am not ambitious, and do not crave splendor;
permit me therefore to live in seclusion."

"No, my dear sister, we cannot permit you to do so," said the
chamberlain, shrugging his shoulders. "If it concerned you alone, you
could dispose of yourself as you thought fit. But behind you stands
your family--your family, which has been brought down in the world by
all sorts of misfortunes, and is far from occupying the position to
which it is entitled, and to which I, above all things, wish to see
it restored, for I acknowledge that I am ambitious, my dear sister,
and I desire to achieve eminence. I am now on the highway to success,
and I do not intend that you shall arrest, but rather that you shall
promote, my progress. If you reject the king's addresses, of course the
whole family will fall into disfavor, and that would not be agreeable,
either to myself or to my dear uncle, the master of ceremonies of the
widowed queen. He wishes to become the king's master of ceremonies,
and I wish to become a cabinet minister. Apart from this, the family
coffers are sadly in need of replenishment. Our ancestral castle is
in a crumbling condition, the forests have been cut down, the land is
badly cultivated, and the farmhouses and stables must be rebuilt, for
they are only miserable ruins, in which the half-starved cattle find no
protection from the weather; and it is your mission to restore the old
family Von Voss to its former splendor."

"By my dishonor, by my criminality!" sighed Julia von Voss. "Oh, my
mother, my dear mother, why did you leave me, and fly to heaven from
all this degradation! If you were here, you would protect me, and not
suffer me to be so cruelly tempted."

"You remind me of our dear mother at the right time, Julie. Do you
remember what she told you on her deathbed?"

"Yes, my brother, I do," she replied, in a low voice. "She said: 'You
will not be an orphan, for you have your brother to take care of and
protect you. I transfer all my rights to him; for the future, he will
be the head of the family, and you must love, honor, and obey him as
such.'"

"'I transfer all my rights to him; for the future, he will be the
head of the family, and you must love, honor, and obey him as such,'"
repeated her brother, in an elevated voice. "Do not forget this, my
sister. I, as the head of the family, demand of you that you become
the benefactress of your family, of your queen, and of your whole
country. A grand and holy task devolves upon you. You are to liberate
the land, the queen, and the king himself, from the domination of
sin and indecorum. In a word, you are to displace this Rietz and her
abominable husband, and inaugurate the reign of virtue and morality in
this court. Truly, this is a noble mission, and one well worthy of my
beautiful sister."

"It will not succeed," said the maid of honor. "The king will never
consent to banish this hateful Rietz."

"The greater would be the honor, if you succeeded in liberating the
king from this scandalous woman, the queen from this serpent, and the
country from these vampires. Ah, the whole royal family, yes, all
Prussia, would bless you, if you could overthrow this Rietz and her
self-styled husband!"

"Yes," said Julie, in a low voice, "it would be a sublime consummation;
but I should have to purchase it with my own degradation. And that I
will not--cannot do. Brother, my dear brother, be merciful, and do not
demand of me what is impossible and horrible. The daughter of my mother
can never become a king's mistress!"

"And who said that you should? Truly, I would be the last to require
that of you. No, not the mistress, but the wife of the king. You shall
become his wedded wife; and your rightful marriage shall be blessed by
a minister of the Reformed Church!"

"But that is impossible!" exclaimed the maid of honor, whose eyes
sparkled with joy, against her will, "that cannot be. The queen lives,
and she is the king's wedded wife."

"Yes, the wedded wife of the right hand," said her brother, quietly;
"but the king, like every other mortal, has two hands; and he has a
privilege which other mortals have not--the privilege of wedding a wife
on the left hand."

"Impossible, quite impossible, as long as the wife of the right hand
lives!" exclaimed Julie.

"Of that, the consistory of church matters is alone competent to
decide," replied her brother, with composure; "or rather, I expressed
myself badly, the consistory has only a deliberative voice; and the
decision rests with the king alone, who, in our country, represents
the church, and is its head--the evangelical pope. It is his province
to say whether such a marriage of the left hand is possible,
notwithstanding a marriage of the right hand. Demand it of him; make
it a condition. Remember the words which the beautiful Gabrielle said
to Henry the Fourth, when he inspected her dwelling, and asked the lady
he adored, 'Which is the way to your chamber?' 'Sire,' she replied,
'the way to my chamber goes through the church.' Remember this when you
speak to the king."

"Be assured, I will remember it," cried Julie, with glowing cheeks, and
a proud, joyous smile. "I will make my conditions; and only when the
king fulfils them will I be his, and--"

"And, why do you pause, and why is your face crimsoned with blushes
all at once? Ah! you hear an equipage rolling up the avenue, and your
tender heart says the king, your future husband, is approaching. Yes,
my beautiful sister," continued her brother, as he stepped to the
window and looked out; "yes, it is the king. Now prepare yourself, my
wise and discreet Julie; prepare to give your royal lover a worthy
reception. For, of course, you will receive him? And I may tell--I may
tell his majesty that you welcome his visit joyfully?"

"No, oh no," murmured the maid of honor, with trembling lips. "I am not
prepared; I am not composed; I cannot receive the king now!"

"No childishness," said her brother, severely. "You will have
sufficient time to compose yourself. The king must first pay his
respects to the widowed queen, and the visit of condolence will last at
least a quarter of an hour. I must now leave you; but remember that the
fortunes of your family, and of the whole country, are in your hands,
and act accordingly!"

He left the room hastily, without awaiting a reply, and went down to
the grand audience-chamber, where the courtiers and cavaliers were
assembled. The king had already retired with the widowed queen to her
library.

On entering the chamber, he immediately walked up to his intimate
acquaintance, Bischofswerder, the newly-created colonel, who had
accompanied the king to Schönhausen.

"It will succeed," said he, in a low voice, "our great ends will
be attained; we will conquer our enemies, and secure dominion for
ourselves and the invisible fathers. My sister loves the king, but she
has been virtuously reared, and would rather renounce the king and her
love, than sacrifice her moral principles."

"She is, therefore, the more worthy of the high mission to which she
has been called by the will of the Invisible," said Bischofswerder,
emphatically. "She shall rescue our loved master and king from the arms
of sin, and lead him back to the path of virtue with the hand of love,
sanctified and consecrated by these noble ends."

"But she demands another consecration. The consecration of a lawful
marriage. If this can be procured, my sister will always be our
obedient and devoted friend, and, through her instrumentality, we--that
is, the Invisible--will establish our rule."

"Her desire is certainly a bold one," said Bischofswerder. "But we must
endeavor to fulfil it. We will speak with our wise friend Wöllner on
this subject; and will also lay the noble young lady's request at the
feet of the sublime grand-kophta, and master of the invisible lodge."

"Is he here, the great grand-kophta?" asked Charles von Voss, eagerly.
"Then what the circle-director announced yesterday in the assembly was
really true, and the grand-kophta is in our midst."

"He was with us in that assembly, we were all enveloped in the
atmosphere of his glory, but it is only given to the initiated of the
first rank, to know when the Invisible is near. Oh, my friend, I pitied
you yesterday, while in the assembly; lamented that you should still
stand in the antechamber of the temple, and not yet have been permitted
to enter the inner sanctuary."

"But what must I do before I am permitted to enter?" asked Charles
von Voss, in imploring tones. "Oh, tell me, my dear, my enviable, my
illustrious friend, what must I do to advance myself and become a
participant of the inestimable privilege of being permitted to enter
the inner sanctuary, and belong to the band of the initiated?"

"You must belong to the band of the believing, the hopeful, and the
obedient. You must prove to the Invisible, by unconditional submission,
that you are an obedient instrument; and then you will be called!"

"And by what token will I know that such is the case?"

"You will receive a visible sign of the satisfaction of the Invisible.
When you and we succeed, with his assistance, in establishing the
dominion of the Invisible so firmly that he will rule Prussia; when
Rietz and her whole faction of the unbelieving are made harmless
and destroyed; when, through your sister's instrumentality, virtue
and propriety once more regulate and sanctify the king's private
life--then, my friend, the Invisible will give you a visible token of
his satisfaction, and will make the Chamberlain von Voss, the Minister
of State von Voss."

"Oh, my dear, my mighty friend!" cried the chamberlain joyfully; "I
will do all that the superiors desire. I will have no will of my own. I
will be an instrument in their hands in order that I may finally--"

"The king!" cried the chamberlain of the day, as he threw open the
folding doors of the antechamber. "The king!"

And amid the profound silence of his courtiers, who bowed their proud
heads respectfully, King Frederick William entered the audience
chamber, on his return from the visit of condolence paid to the
mourning widow of Frederick. He cast a quick glance around the chamber,
and, observing the Chamberlain von Voss, beckoned him to approach.

In obedience to the king's command, the chamberlain walked forward.
"Well," said the king in a low voice, "what does your sister say?"

"Your majesty, she said but little to me, but she will have a great
deal to say to your majesty."

"She is then ready to receive me?" said the king, his countenance
radiant with joy.

"Your majesty, my sister is awaiting you, and I will conduct you to
her, if your majesty will graciously follow."

"Come," replied the king, and, without honoring his courtiers with
a glance, the king followed the Chamberlain von Voss out of the
audience-chamber.



CHAPTER VI.

THE ALLIANCE.


Wilhelmine Rietz had passed the whole day in a state of great
excitement. King Frederick was dead! Public rumor had communicated this
intelligence; it had flown on the wings of the wind from Sans-Souci to
Potsdam, from Potsdam to Charlottenburg and Berlin, and thence to all
the towns and villages of the Prussian monarchy.

King Frederick the Great was dead! This report was uttered in wailing
accents all over the country; and filled the eyes of millions of
faithful subjects and admirers of Frederick with tears. This report
also conveyed the tidings to the beloved of the prince royal, that she
was now the beloved of a king.

But Wilhelmine would have much preferred to hear it from himself; to
receive a visible proof that her image still filled the king's heart,
and that the clouds of incense rising around the new monarchy had not
dimmed the recollections of the past.

Long hours of anxious expectation passed, and when the clock struck
the hour of noon and no messenger had arrived, she was seized with
unutterable fear. At last at about two o'clock, her son Alexander
arrived at Charlottenburg, with his tutor Mr. Von Chapuis, "at the
king's command," as the tutor announced. Nor could he give her any
further information, for he had not seen the king himself but had
received this command from the mouth of the valet, Rietz.

"That is a bad sign, a very bad sign!" murmured Wilhelmine to herself
when she was again alone. "He sends my son to a distance, in order to
give no offence to his new court at Potsdam. He does not love me; if
he did, he would have the courage to defy the prejudices of the world.
Ah! he loves me no longer, and henceforth I will be nothing more than
the despised, discarded mistress, to be greeted with derisive laughter
by every passer-by, and to have cause for congratulation if she can
hide her shame in some obscure corner of the earth, where she might
escape the scornful looks and stinging words of mankind. But this shall
never be; no, I will not be discarded--will not be trodden in the dust.
And now, Wilhelmine," she continued, with sparkling eyes and glowing
cheeks, "now prove that you are no weak, no ordinary creature; prove
that you possess wisdom, courage and energy. Fight for your existence,
for your future, for your love! For I do love him, and I cannot live
without him. And I will not live without him!" she cried loudly and
emphatically. "He is the father of my children; he is my hope and my
future. Without him I am a despised creature; with him I am a lady of
distinction, who is flattered and courted in the most devoted manner;
and only abused and ridiculed behind her back. But continue to abuse
and ridicule me, my triumph will be all the greater, when you must
nevertheless bend the knee and do homage to the hated person. I have
borne and endured a great deal for the poor prince-royal Frederick
William, and now I demand compensation and reward at the hands of the
rich King Frederick William. No, I will not be put aside! As long as
I live, I will fight for my existence, and fight with the weapons of
strategy and force, of intrigue and flattery. Ah, I rejoice in the
prospect. Yes, I really rejoice in it! At all events, it will lend an
additional charm to life, and be a change and a diversion!"

"The privy-chamberlain and treasurer of the king!" announced the
servant, entering the room.

"Who is that?" asked Wilhelmine in astonishment. "I know no such
gentleman."

"I am the gentleman, my dear wife, my adored Wilhelmine," said Rietz,
laughing loudly, as he followed the servant into the room. "In me, my
dear wife, you see the privy-chamberlain and treasurer, fresh as a
newly-baked loaf from the oven of royal favor."

"Leave the room, Jean," said Wilhelmine, who, impelled perhaps by
curiosity, gave himself the appearance of being busily occupied in
arranging the room.

"No, my dear wife," said Rietz, beckoning to the servant, "have the
goodness to permit Jean to remain a moment until I have given him
my orders.--Jean, I am hungry, and feel an irresistible inclination
to eat. Bring me something enjoyable, right away--for instance, a
goose-liver pie, or a pheasant, or both. You can also bring some caviar
and a piece of venison. And then have a bottle of champagne brought up
and placed on ice; it is abominably warm to-day, and I need something
cooling. Be quick, Jean."

The servant made no reply, but looked inquiringly at his mistress.
Rietz caught this look, and laughed loudly. "I really believe this
simpleton entertains the daring idea of not obeying me, his master!"

"Excuse me, sir," murmured the servant, timidly, "but my services were
engaged by this lady."

"Yes, certainly; but you well know, you rascal, that I am the master,
and that this lady is my wife, and--"

"Enough," interrupted Wilhelmine, gravely. "Set the table in the
dining-room, Jean, and be quick!"

"Well spoken, Wilhelmine; let me kiss you for it, my treasure!" cried
Rietz, walking with extended arms toward his wife, while the servant
was opening the door. But the door had scarcely closed when he let his
arms fall, and recoiled timidly from Wilhelmine, who stood before him
with flashing eyes.

"Sir," said she, her voice trembling with anger; "sir, I forbid you to
take such liberties, and use such familiar language in the presence of
my servant."

"But, madame," replied Rietz, smiling, "it is only in the presence of
your servant that I can use such language; and it seems to me that it
suits my rôle very well. I have the honor to figure before the world
as your husband, consequently I should play my rôle respectably before
men, and prove that we are a happy and contented pair. The wickedness
and malice of mankind are great; and if men should observe that I spoke
to you with less tenderness, your enemies would certainly spread the
report, that we were living together unhappily."

"I must inform you, sir, that I have no desire whatever to jest," cried
Wilhelmine, impatiently. "Have the goodness to be serious. Now, that we
are alone, I beg that you will not attempt to keep up the absurd farce
of our so-called marriage."

"And bad enough it is for me that it is only a farce," sighed Rietz,
impressively. "I would--"

The angry look which Wilhelmine bestowed upon him, repressed his words,
and he quickly assumed a melancholy, submissive manner. "I am silent,
madame, I am silent," said he, bowing profoundly, and with an air of
deep pathos. "I am your most submissive servant, nothing else; and,
having now paid my homage to the sun, I will retire, as its splendor
has dazzled my eyes."

He crossed his arms before his breast, bowed to the earth before his
mistress, as the slaves do in the east, and then arose and walked
rapidly toward the door.

"Where are you going, sir?" asked Wilhelmine. "Why do you not remain
here?"

"I cannot, mistress," said he, humbly. "The Moor has done his duty! The
Moor can go! So it reads at least in Frederick Schiller's new piece,
the one given at the theatre a short time ago."

"But you have not yet done your duty," said Wilhelmine, smiling
involuntarily. "You have not yet delivered your message."

"What message?" asked Rietz, with a pretence of astonishment.

"His majesty's message. For he it was, undoubtedly, who sent you here."

"You are right," said Rietz, with an air of indifference. "Yes, that
is true. I had forgotten it. Good heavens! I have received so many
commissions to-day, and been sent to so many ladies, that I forget the
one in the other. I am now playing a very important rôle. I am the
Figaro of my master Almaviva--the Figaro who has to help his master
in carrying off his beautiful cousin. You know the piece, of course,
the delightfully good-for-nothing piece, that created such a furor in
France, and consequently here with us also?"

"Yes, I do, Rietz; and I beg you not to stretch me on the rack with
your drollery! What did the king say? What messages did he entrust to
you?"

"Oh, madame! You cannot require of me that I should betray Count
Almaviva's confidence, and impart to you the messages entrusted to me?"
cried Figaro Rietz, with noble indignation. "I have only to impart that
which concerns my beautiful Susanna; and that is, his majesty is coming
here this evening, and his rooms are to be held in readiness. He will
first take tea, and then adjourn to the little laboratory to do some
little cooking and brewing."

Wilhelmine's countenance, before bright and animated, darkened as the
privy-chamberlain uttered these last words.

"The king intends to work in the laboratory? Then he is not coming
alone?"

"He is coming alone, but I expect his assistants and teachers, the
two great heroes of the invisible lodge, will follow at a later hour,
in order to make a little 'hocus pocus' for his majesty--that is, I
expressed myself badly--I wished to say, in order to work with his
majesty in the secret sciences. Yes, the two great luminaries are
coming, and if I could be permitted to give you my advice--but no, so
wise and enlightened a lady as yourself can have no need of the advice
of so foolish and ridiculous a fellow as I am. I am therefore silent,
and will now retire, in order to strengthen my body at least, as my
mind is of so hopelessly weak a constitution, that all endeavors in
that direction would be thrown away. My gracious queen, I beg that
you will now kindly dismiss me!" He made a ceremonious bow, and then
retired towards the door, walking backwards.

"Rietz, remain!" commanded Wilhelmine, imperiously.

"Impossible, my queen. My message is delivered; and the Moor not only
can, but will go."

"Remain, Rietz; I beg you to do so," said Wilhelmine, advancing a step
nearer.

"When the stomach commands," said Rietz, shrugging his shoulders, "the
entreaties of the most beautiful of women are of no avail."

"Well, then go and eat," cried Wilhelmine, impatiently. "And when you
have done eating, come back to my room!"

"Nor can I do that, my queen. I must then ride to Potsdam, where, by
the king's command, I am to hold a secret and important conference with
her majesty, the queen, that is, with her majesty of the right hand. I
must, therefore, hoist anchor and sail again as soon as I have eaten,
and--"

"Well then," said Wilhelmine, with determination, "I will accompany you
to the dining-room, and we will converse while you are eating."

"Bravo! bravo! That was what I desired!" cried Rietz, laughing. "The
servants shall see in how heavenly an understanding we live together;
and how careful my wife is not to lose her husband's society for a
moment. Give me your arm, madam, and lead me to the dining-room."

With a forced smile she took his arm, and permitted him to conduct her
through the parlor to the dining-room. Jean had served up all manner of
delicacies on a little table, and was now occupied, at the sideboard,
in breaking ice for the champagne.

"Put a bottle of Rhine wine on the ice, too, Jean," cried Rietz,
imperiously, as he seated himself comfortably in the chair, leaving
his "wife" to find one for herself and bring it up to the table, at
which he had already made an assault on a truffle-pie. "Magnificent!"
said he, after eating a few morsels, "I must tell you, my dearest
Wilhelmine, there is nothing better than a truffle-pie!"

Wilhelmine turned impatiently to the servant, who was turning the wine
in the freezer: "You can now go, Jean, the gentleman will wait on
himself."

"And my champagne!" exclaimed Rietz. But, with an imperious gesture,
Wilhelmine dismissed the servant.

"Now we are alone," said Wilhelmine. "Now you can speak. You wished to
give me your advice."

"Madam," rejoined Rietz, as he carried a savory morsel to his mouth;
"madam, at this moment I can advise you to do but one thing, and that
is, to try this truffle-pie, it is truly magnificent!"

"You are cruel," cried Wilhelmine, "you torture me!"

"Say rather, madam, that you are cruel," said Rietz, rising from the
table to go after the champagne. "It is truly cruel to compel a man to
arise, in the midst of the delights of the table, and wait on himself!
Champagne loses its flavor when one has to pour it out himself!"

"I will wait on you, sir!" cried Wilhelmine, rising with vivacity, and
taking the bottle in her hands.

Rietz nodded complacently. "That is right. That is piquant, and will
season my repast. The almighty queen of the left hand waits on her
submissive husband of the left hand. The mistress becomes the slave,
the slave the master! This is a charming riddle, is it not? But I tell
you, madame, it is not the last riddle we will propound! Oh, very many
riddles will now be propounded; and some people would be very happy if
they could find the right solution."

"You wished to give me good advice concerning the two favorites," said
Wilhelmine, with a smile, that cost her proud heart much humiliation.
"Speak, therefore, my dear Rietz! Give me your advice!"

Rietz held his glass up to the light, and gazed smilingly at the
rising bubbles. "That reminds me of my old friend, the burgomaster of
Stargard, the dear place of my nativity. The good Burgomaster Funk,
was a true child of Pomerania, who despised High-German, and would
have spoken Low-German, even with the king. Speaking Low-German, and
eating dinner was his passion. And I have often thought, when I saw him
sitting at the dinner-table, with so reverent and pious a countenance,
that the old gentleman fancied himself in church, administering
the sacrament as a priest. He applied himself with such heavenly
tranquillity to the delights of the table, permitting nothing in the
world to disturb him while so engaged."

"But I cannot comprehend what the recollections of your happy youth
have to do with the advice you desired to give."

"You will soon do so, my queen," said Rietz, slowly emptying his glass.
"And yet permit me to dwell a little longer on the recollections of my
dear old master. For you must know that this good old gentleman was my
master; under him I learned the arts of a valet, writer, and confidant,
and all the little artifices and stratagems by which a valet makes
himself his master's factotum. Truly the king is greatly indebted to
the burgomaster; without him he would never have been the possessor
of so excellent a factotum as the privy-chamberlain and treasurer
Rietz. At the same time, I learned from my master how to become a
gourmand; learned what precious knowledge, and how much practical
study, were necessary to educate a man up to this sublime standard,
and entitle him to the proud appellation of gourmand. My old master,
who deservedly bore this title, inculcated in me the most beautiful
and strict principles. In the midst of our conversation, and while the
old gentleman was digesting, slowly imbibing his delicious mocha,
and blowing clouds of smoke from his long pipe, it sometimes occurred
that some one of the burghers of the little city would come, in his
necessity, to his burgomaster to obtain advice or assistance. Then you
should have seen his anger and rage. He would strike the table with his
fist, and cry furiously: 'Vat, I give advice! After dinner, and for
noting!'"

"Ah," exclaimed Wilhelmine, "now I begin to understand!"

"That is fortunate, indeed," said Rietz, laughing; and he held out his
empty glass to Wilhelmine that she might fill it. "Then you begin to
understand that the phrase 'after dinner, and for nothing,' is very
beautiful and appropriate?"

"Yes, and I will give you a proof of it at once! Sir, what do you ask
for your good advice?"

"Bravo, bravo!" cried Rietz. "Well sung, my prima donna! Now we shall
understand each other; and with your permission we will proceed to talk
seriously. Madame, will you form an offensive and defensive alliance
with me? Do not reply yet! I have no desire whatever that you should
buy the cat in the bag; first hear what I have to say, and then make up
your mind. We are now at the beginning of a new era; and to most men
the future is as a book written in mysterious and illegible characters.
But I think I can decipher it, and I will tell you what it contains.
I read in this book that Prussia is now governed by a king who can do
anything but govern himself, and who is like soft wax in the hands of
those who know how to manage him."

"How dare you speak so disrespectfully of your king?" cried Wilhelmine.

"Madame," said Rietz, shrugging his shoulders, "give yourself no
trouble! To his valet and to his mistress--pardon me for this word, my
queen--the greatest king is but an ordinary man; and when we two are
alone, we need stand on no ceremony. The king, I say, will be ruled
over. And the only question is, by whom? The question is, shall the
valet and the mistress rule over the happy and prosperous kingdom of
Prussia, or shall they leave this difficult but remunerative business
to the Rosicrucians, to the Invisible Fathers, and to their visible
sons, Bischofswerder and Wöllner."

"If they do that," cried Wilhelmine, with vivacity, "the mistress and
the valet will be lost, they will be banished."

"That is also my opinion," said Rietz. "These dear Rosicrucians dread
our influence. They know that we are both too wise to believe in the
hocus pocus, and that it sometimes affords us pleasure to enlighten
the king's mind on the subject of these mysterious fellows and their
jugglery. I, for my part, hate these pious hypocrites, these wise
fools. It is as impossible for me to live together with them in
friendship, as it is for the honest dog and sneaking cat to sojourn
harmoniously in one kennel. And I account it one of my greatest
pleasures when I can sometimes give them a good blow, and tear out a
piece of their sheepskin, in order to show the king that a wolf is
disguised in sheep's clothing."

"I feel exactly as you do on this subject," cried Wilhelmine, laughing.
"I find it impossible to accept their offers of friendship. They have
frequently attempted to make me their ally, but I wish to have nothing
to do with the Invisible Fathers of the inner temple; I prefer the
visible sons in the outer halls, for we, at least, know what they are!"

"You are a divine woman," cried the chamberlain, in delight. "If you
were not my wife I should certainly fall in love with you. It is
fortunate, however, that you are my wife, for lovers are blind, and it
behooves us both to keep our eyes open to avoid being caught in the
snares which will be laid for us in great plenty by our pious fowlers.
'They or we;' this will be the watchword throughout the glorious reign
of our king. The Pharisees and Rosicrucians, or--may I pronounce the
word, my enchantress?"

"Yes, my friend, pronounce the word!"

"Well, then! The watchword is: 'The Pharisees and Rosicrucians, or the
libertines and mistresses!' I cast my lot with the latter party, for
with them good dinners and brilliant fêtes are the order of the day.
With them pleasure reigns, and joy is queen."

"I am with you, my friend. Death and destruction to the Pharisees and
Rosicrucians!"

"Long live the libertines and mistresses! They shall rule over Prussia!
They shall guide the ship of state; and we, Wilhelmine Enke, we two
will be the leaders and masters of this merry band! We will fight with
each other and for each other; and the Pharisees and Rosicrucians are,
and shall ever be, our common enemies! Give me your hand on this, my
queen!"

"Here is my hand. Yes, the Pharisees and Rosicrucians are, and shall
ever be, our common enemies!"

"You will aid me, and I you! We will protect and watch over each other.
Our interests are identical, what furthers yours furthers mine. You,
my beautiful Wilhelmine, are ambitious, and are not contented with my
well-sounding name. You aim higher, and I do not blame you, for a crown
would become you well, although it were only the crown of a countess."

"That would suffice," said Wilhelmine, smiling. "And you, my friend,
what do you aspire to?"

"I am a very modest man, and decorations and titles have no charms
for me. I do not wish ever to become more than I now am; but that, my
queen, I would like to remain. I have no desire to be dispossessed of
my situation; on the contrary, I desire to make of it a right warm and
comfortable nest."

"And I will procure you the necessary down," cried Wilhelmine, laughing.

"Very well, but it must be eider-down, my love, for that is the
softest. I love the exquisite and the excellent; I am a gourmand in
all things. If there is one thing I could wish for, it would be that
my whole life might consist of one long dinner, and I remain sitting
at the savory, richly-laden table, until compelled to leave it for the
grave. I am not ambitious, nor am I miserly; but money I must have,
much money. In order to lead a comfortable and agreeable life one must
have money, a great deal of money, an immense quantity of money. My
motto is, therefore, 'My whole life one good dinner, and--after dinner,
no advice for nothing!'"

"I consider this a wise motto, and, although I cannot make it my own, I
will always respect it as yours, and act in accordance with it in your
interest."

"That will be very agreeable," said Rietz. "I will then be able to
realize my ideal."

"And in what does your ideal consist, if I may ask the question?"

"My ideal is a house of my own, elegantly and luxuriously furnished,
attentive and deferential servants, an exquisite cook, and the most
choice dinners, with four covers always ready for agreeable, gay, and
influential guests, who must be selected each day. Do you know, my
queen, what is essential to the realization of my ideal? In the first
place, the king must give me a house just large enough to make me a
comfortable dwelling. I know of such a house. It stands at the entrance
of the park of Sans-Souci. It has only five chambers, a parlor, a
cellar, a kitchen, and several servants' rooms. That is just the house
for a modest man like myself; and I wish to have it. And then rich
clients are required, petitioners for decorations and titles, who
come to me for counsel, supposing the king's confidential chamberlain
can gratify their longings, if they only cajole him and show him some
attentions. For instance, if this nice new house were mine, I would
furnish one room only, and that sparingly, letting all the others
stand empty. I would then show my visitors my dear little house, and
it would be strange, indeed, if it were not soon handsomely furnished.
To accomplish this, nothing is wanted but your assistance, my gracious
wife and queen."

"And in what manner shall I assist you, my dear philosopher?"

"In this manner, my adored: by sending the suitors who come to you,
to me--that is, those suitors who desire decorations, titles, or a
noble coat-of-arms; for with politics I will have nothing to do. I only
speculate on the foolishness of mankind. Therefore, let it be well
understood, you are to send the foolish to me with their petitions--to
tell them that decorations and titles are my specialty, and that I
alone can effect anything with the king in such matters. In doing
this, you not only send me clients who furnish my house, but you also
enhance my respectability. You make an important person of me, to whom
great deference must be shown, and who must be courted and flattered.
The natural consequence will be, that I will have humble and devoted
servants, and be able to secure agreeable and influential guests for
my dinners. For I need scarcely inform you, that it would afford me no
entertainment whatever simply to fill empty stomachs at my table. On
the contrary, I desire to have guests to whom eating is a science, and
who do not regard a good pasty merely as an article of food, but rather
as a superior enjoyment. Will you help me to attain all this?"

"Yes, I will, my friend. But now tell me what services you propose to
render in return!"

"I will be your obedient servant, your sincere and discreet friend, and
your ally in life and death. When diplomatists and politicians apply
to me for my good offices, I will refer them to you. I will always
have your interests at heart. If Bischofswerder and Wöllner should
ever succeed in poisoning the king's mind against you, or in depriving
you of his favor, I will lend a helping hand in thrusting these pious
lights into the shade, where they belong. You can depend on me in all
things. I will represent your interests, as if they were my own, and as
if I had the honor to be in reality what I, unfortunately, only appear
to be, the husband of the beautiful and amiable Wilhelmine Rietz. But
truly, the name sounds bad, and I will assist you in exchanging it
for a longer and more harmonious one. The name Rietz is just long and
good enough for me. It fits me snugly, like a comfortable, well-worn
dressing-gown; and I prefer it to a court-dress. But for you, my fair
one, we must certainly procure the title of a baroness or countess.
Moreover, as your disinterestedness and improvidence in money matters
is well known to me, I will also consider it my sacred duty to look
after your interests in this particular, and call the king's attention
to your necessities from time to time. For instance, you might require
a handsome palace in Berlin, or a larger villa here in Charlottenburg,
or a magnificent set of jewelry, or an increase of income."

"Ah, my friend, I will be very thankful for all this," said Wilhelmine,
with a bewitching smile. "But what is of paramount importance is,
that the king should continue to love me, or at least that he should
never reject my love or discard me. I love him. He is the father of my
children; he was the lover of my youth; and I can swear that I have
never loved another besides him. Even my worst enemies cannot say of me
that I was ever untrue to the love of my youth, or that I ever had any
liaison, except the one with the poor prince royal, for whom I suffered
want, rather than listen to the addresses of rich and influential
admirers."

"That is true," said Rietz, with an air of perfect gravity; "they can
make you no reproaches. Your life has been altogether irreproachable;
and the _chronique scandaleuse_ has had nothing to report concerning
you."

"You are mocking me," sighed Wilhelmine. "Your words are well
understood. You wish to say that my whole life has been one
impropriety, and that I am the legitimate prey of the _chronique
scandaleuse_. Oh, do not deny it, you are perfectly right. I am an
outcast from society; and yet it cannot be said of me, that I, like
so many highly-respectable ladies, have sold my heart and hand for an
advantageous marriage settlement. I only followed the dictates of my
heart and my love; and the world punishes me by erecting a barrier
between me and good society. But I have no intention of submitting
to this any longer. Why should the king's beloved stand without the
barrier, while many a countess, who has sold herself, and married an
unloved man for his title and his wealth, and to whom faith is but an
empty fancy, stands within on consecrated ground. This barrier shall
crumble before me, and I will be received within the circle of this
so-called good and exclusive society. To their hatred and contempt,
I am quite indifferent, but they shall at least seem to esteem and
respect me. They shall not leave me in perfect solitude in the midst of
the world, as if I lived on a desert island, like Robinson Crusoe, and
had great reason to be thankful when the king sometimes took the rôle
of Friday and kept me company. I will be received in society; I will be
the head of society; I will have parlors, where not only artists and
men of intellect assemble, but to which the ladies of the best society
must also come. This is my ambition; this is my dream of happiness.
I will have a social position in defiance of all these so-called
exclusive circles. Whenever I meet these people, and see them turn
aside to avoid me with a contemptuous smile, I say to myself: 'Only
wait, ye proud, ye virtuous! you shall yet fill Wilhelmine Rietz's
parlors, and form the background of the brilliant picture of her power
and magnificence. Only wait, ye noble gentlemen, you shall yet dance
attendance in Wilhelmine Rietz's antechamber! Only wait, ye heroines
of virtue, you shall one day walk arm in arm with Wilhelmine Rietz,
and accord her the place of honor on your right hand!' You see I have
consoled myself with these thoughts of the future for many years. But
the future has now become the present, and the longed-for time has at
last arrived when Wilhelmine Rietz will compel society to unbolt its
portals and permit her to enter. Will you assist me in this matter?"

"I shall be delighted to do so," said Rietz, laughing. "I will be the
locksmith, who furnishes the keys to open these doors with, and if keys
will not suffice, he will provide picklocks and crowbars. But, enter
you shall. It will be a difficult undertaking, to be sure, but it will
amuse me all the more, on that account, to assist you, and help to
pull down the pride of these arrogant people. Ah, I hate these people,
and it will afford me immense satisfaction to see them compelled to
humble themselves before you, and fawn and flatter in spite of their
reluctance! Yes, I will help you to ascend this mountain, but I do not
desire to rise with you, I prefer to remain below in the valley, and
earn an honest livelihood, as the good old proverb says."

"And will become a rich man in the valley, while I will, perhaps, be
struggling with debts and creditors on the heights above!"

"Yes," said Rietz, "there will certainly be struggles, and struggles
of every variety. As for your debts, I will undertake to have them all
paid; and in the future your income will be so considerably increased
that you will no longer be under the necessity of making debts. But
what I cannot take upon myself, unaided, is the struggle with your
beautiful and high-born rival. That is woman's work; there, fists are
of no avail, and delicate fingers can manipulate needles with far
greater efficiency."

"You speak of my rival, the beautiful Julie von Voss."

"Yes, my adorable, I speak of her, and I will now prove to you that
I am your friend. And I will tell what I have no right to tell. The
privy-chamberlain breaks the inviolable seal of office. But what can
I do? are you not my wife? And in the end, the most discreet man in
the world can keep no secret from his wife! Now, listen!" And in a
low, suppressed voice, as if fearing the walls might hear, he told
her of his mission to Schönhausen, of the king's messages, and of his
conversation with the beautiful maid of honor.

Wilhelmine listened with pallid cheeks and quivering lips, only
interrupting him from time to time with a brief question, or an angry
or threatening cry.



CHAPTER VII.

THE CONDITIONS.


While this was occurring in the dining-room, Jean sat in the
antechamber, holding himself in readiness to answer his mistress's
bell, if it should ring. But no bell rang, and all was so still, the
air so warm and sultry in the little chamber, and the soft twilight
had so tranquillizing an effect, that Jean could no longer resist the
temptation to close his eyes, and indulge in his dreams of the future.
And perhaps he was dreaming, when a tall figure, completely enveloped
in a black mantle, stood before him, laid his hand on his shoulder, and
pronounced his name in a low voice. Perhaps it was only a dream when he
saw this, and heard the veiled figure utter these words in a low voice:

"You belong to the third circle of the Invisible lodge?"

And he replied--whether in a dream or in reality, he was himself not
perfectly satisfied--"Yes, I belong to that circle."

Furthermore, the veiled figure said: "You were sent here with orders to
make an exact report of all that occurs, to the circle director, and to
submit to his will, in all things. Do you bear this in mind?"

"I am the obedient servant of the Invisible," replied Jean,
respectfully. "I will never forget my oath; if I did, punishment would
overtake, and the just anger of the Invisible destroy me."

"Did the circle-director show you the symbol of the brotherhood?"

"Yes, he did."

"Behold the symbol," said the veiled figure, and for a moment a little
triangular plate of metal shone in his open hand.

"I see it," replied Jean, rising, "and I know by this triangle that a
brother of the higher degrees stands before me; I therefore salute you
with reverence, brother superior." He bowed profoundly, but the veiled
figure merely nodded in return.

"Do you know the sign by which the master of the order, the grand
kophta is recognized?" said he, in low and piercing tones.

"I do," replied Jean, his voice almost inaudible, from inward agitation.

The veiled figure thrust forth his hand from under the concealing
mantle, and a large solitaire sparkled on his finger. "See, this is the
sign," said he.

Jean uttered a cry of astonishment, and sank on his knees. "Command me,
almighty one," he murmured, "your slave has no will but yours."

"Arise, and be my guide," commanded the veiled figure, and Jean stood
up immediately.

"Where shall I lead, my exalted master?"

"Conduct me to the little room adjoining the laboratory of the present
king, but by such a way that no human eye shall see, and no human ear
hear me."

"Then, I must first beg permission," said Jean, hurrying towards the
door, "to assure myself that no one is in the hall."

But the veiled figure followed, and held him back. "Why go that way?"
he asked. "Why through the hall, when we can go through the door in the
wall into the little passage that leads to the secret staircase?"

"That is true; I had forgotten that," said Jean, trembling, and looking
with surprise and terror at his superior, who was so well acquainted
with this strange house that he knew the secret doors and staircases.

"As my master pleases; here is the door." He pressed a small, almost
imperceptible knob in the wall, and a little door sprang open.

"Go before, and lead me," said the veiled figure, pushing Jean through
the entrance. "We must walk softly, and without uttering a word; the
passage runs by the dining-room, where your mistress is conversing
with the king's privy-chamberlain, and we might be heard. I will,
therefore, give you my command here. You will lead me through the
passage and down the staircase. With the key which you carry, you will
then open the door and let me into the laboratory. You will then lock
the door again, take the key from the lock, and hurry back to the
antechamber. You will observe the most profound silence in regard to
what has occurred; and, if life and your eternal welfare are dear to
you, you will betray having seen me by neither word, look, nor gesture."

"Exalted master," whispered Jean, "I am nothing more than your slave
and creature, and I know that my life is but dust in your hands. I fear
the Invisible, and I adore you in your sublimity. Graciously permit me
to embrace your feet, that the touch may impart to me eternal health
and strength."

And he knelt down and kissed the feet of the veiled figure with
impassioned tenderness.

The veiled figure bowed down to him and said: "Grace will be shed upon
you; you are a good and obedient servant. At the next assembly you will
learn that you have been elevated a degree, and have come a step nearer
to the inner halls of the temple. Be silent, no word of thanks, but
arise and conduct me!"

Jean arose and stepped forward, the veiled figure following him, and
conducted him, as he had been directed, to the laboratory; he let him
in, closed and locked the door again, and returned hastily to the
antechamber.

Had this all really happened, or had Jean only been dreaming? He asked
himself this question, and looked inquiringly and anxiously around in
the little chamber. He was entirely alone; the secret door was closed.
No one was with him, all was still around him, and profound silence
seemed to reign in the dining-room also. Jean stepped softly to the
door and listened. He could now hear a subdued murmur, and could even
distinguish the voices of his mistress and the privy-chamberlain. They
seemed to be conversing eagerly; but they spoke in such low tones that
it was impossible for Jean to understand a single word.

And they were really engaged in a very earnest conversation; in a
conversation which absorbed Wilhelmine's attention wholly. Rietz had
not only related his interview with the maid of honor, but had also
given her a faithful account of the king's visit to Schönhausen, and of
the conversation between Charles von Voss and his sister, in which he
persuaded her to receive the king.

"How do you know this?" asked Wilhelmine, with a shrug of her
shoulders. "I imagine it could have needed no persuasion, that this
young lady would have done so willingly enough."

"There you are in error, my beautiful countess; I know better, because
I listened to the whole conversation between the maid of honor and her
brother."

"How? You were present?"

"Not exactly present, but I heard it, nevertheless. The doors of the
dilapidated old castle in Schönhausen are full of cracks and crannies,
and if you get near enough you can see and hear very readily."

"And you were near the door of the maid of honor's chamber?"

"So near that a sheet of paper could hardly have been slipped in
between us."

"And there was no one there to order the bold eavesdropper to leave?"

"Yes, there was a human being in the little dressing-room in which
I stood, but this human being made no opposition whatever to my
listening at the door, for the simple reason that I had paid well for
the privilege. The young lady's chambermaid loves money, and is of a
speculative disposition. She wishes to open a millinery establishment,
and for that money is necessary; and she takes it whenever she can
get it. I pay her in my gracious master's name for singing the king's
praise in her mistress's ear; and I pay her in my own name for
reporting to me the result of this singing, and permitting me to listen
at the door when there is anything to be heard. To be sure, it cost me
a considerable sum yesterday. This shrewd little kitten made me pay
her twice: once for the conversation between the maid of honor and her
brother, and the second time for the conversation between the king and
the maid of honor."

Wilhelmine sprang up, and an exclamation of astonishment escaped her
lips. "You have listened to the conversation between the king and the
maid of honor, and now tell me of it for the first time. I conjure you,
Rietz, my dear Rietz, my best friend, tell me of it. Speak--what did
the king say, and what did she reply?"

"After dinner, and for nothing?" asked Rietz, as he stretched himself
comfortably, poured the last few drops of champagne into his glass and
carried it slowly to his lips.

"Speak, my dear Rietz. Say what I shall do. What will you have?"

"The little love of a house at the entrance of the park of Sans-Souci.
It was built on speculation; that is to say, I had it built, hoping
that the old king would be dead, and our Frederick William seated on
the throne by the time of its completion. My hope is now realized, and
I ask you, my adorable wife, will you use your influence to persuade
the king to give me this house as a reward for my long and faithful
services?"

"I will do so; I will storm the king with entreaties to give you this
house."

"Then it is as good as mine already, and I thank my noble patroness.
And now that I am paid in advance, I will impart to you the substance
of that important conversation--that is, you will certainly not require
me to repeat the king's protestations of love and vows of eternal
fidelity."

"No, I do not require that of you," sighed Wilhelmine, with trembling
lips; "that I can readily imagine. It can only have been a repetition
of what he told me. Out upon men! They are a perfidious and faithless
race!"

"Yes, they imbibe these qualities with their mother's milk; and King
Frederick William also is only the son of his mother. Therefore,
nothing of the king's protestations of love, and the noble indignation
and conflict between love and virtue on the part of the young lady.
To the king's intense gratification the young lady finally admitted,
with many tears and sighs, that she would love him if he were not,
unfortunately, already married, and if Madame Rietz were not in
existence. If the king were no better than a poor nobleman, the young
lady would esteem it perfect bliss to become his. She would joyfully
undergo hardships and suffer want at his side; but she was not willing
to occupy a position that would expose her to scorn and contempt.
She could not cause the noble queen additional sorrow and pain; and
finally, it would be quite impossible to tolerate a despised and hated
rival like Wilhelmine Rietz at her side. But--good heavens! what is
the matter with you? You turn pale, and wail and moan fearfully! Poor
woman, if you are so sensitive, I must of course be silent."

"It is nothing--nothing at all," murmured Wilhelmine. "It was only a
momentary pang, and it is now past. Speak on, I am quite composed.
Speak! What did the king reply?"

"He begged her to name the conditions on which she could consent to be
his; and the beautiful and wise maid of honor stated her conditions,
assuring him that they were irrevocable--her ultimatum, as the
diplomatists say. And truly these conditions were ridiculous. I almost
burst out laughing when I heard them."

"And what were they? I pray you tell me," murmured Wilhelmine, clasping
her hands tightly together to keep them from trembling.

"There were three conditions, and the maid of honor swore by the memory
of her mother, who had died of grief caused by her love for the king's
father, Prince August William, that she would neither see his majesty
nor speak with him until he had promised to fulfil her conditions; and,
that if he could or would not fulfil them, the young lady would leave
the court forever, and retire into the deepest seclusion."

"She is cunning; oh, she is very cunning," murmured Wilhelmine,
clasping her hands yet more firmly together. "And her three conditions?"

"Are as follows: firstly, the young lady exacts of the king that she
be married formally and rightfully to his left hand, by a Protestant
minister; secondly, she demands that, above all things, the consent of
the queen, the wife of the right hand, be first obtained; and thirdly,
and finally, she demands that Wilhelmine Rietz, together with her two
children, be banished, and that an estate be given her in Lithuania,
and she be compelled to remain there and never return to Berlin or
Potsdam."

"And the king?" cried Wilhelmine, in piercing accents.

"The king stipulated for four weeks' time in which to consider the
matter, kissed the proud lady's hand, and retired. Now, my queen, you
know all, and it is also time for me to retire. I must ride to Potsdam
at the king's command, and confer with the queen as to the conditions
on which she would give her consent to this absurd marriage. But I
cannot comprehend you, my beauty! You look as mournful as if you were
on the point of starting for Lithuania already, and as if it were
another than you who sways the king's heart and soul. I, for my part,
place implicit confidence in your power, and am satisfied that the king
will never give you up or desert you. Would I otherwise have courted
your alliance? Would I have based my hopes of obtaining the little
house at Sans-Souci on your intercession? No, my beauty; you are, and
will remain, queen, in spite of all the wives of the right and the left
hand. Only you must not be discouraged, and must not look so sad. For
you well know that our good master cannot abide mournful faces, and
invariably runs away from weeping women."

"It is true; you are right," said Wilhelmine. "I will wreathe my face
in smiles. I will laugh."

And she burst out into a loud and vibrating peal of laughter, in which
Rietz heartily joined.

"That is right," he cried; "now I admire you! You look like a lioness
defending her young. That is right, my beauty! 'He who trusts in God,
and strikes out boldly around him, will never come to grief,' my good
old burgomaster Herr Funk used to say. Strike boldly, my queen, deal
out heavy blows, and we shall never come to grief, and all will yet be
well. And now, my charming wife, I must take leave of you, as I hear a
carriage driving up that I wager brings no other than his majesty. It
is not necessary that he should still find me here. I will, therefore,
slip out of the back door and beat a retreat through the garden. Addio,
carissima, addio!"

He bowed respectfully, threw her a kiss with the tips of his fingers,
opened a window, and sprang out upon the terrace, from which a small
stairway led down into the garden.

Wilhelmine frowned, and cast an angry look in the direction he had
taken. "How degraded a soul! how base a character!" she murmured; "but
yet I must cling to him, and be very friendly with him. He is my only
support, my only friend; for without him I would be lost! And I will
not be lost! I will maintain my position; while I live, I will bravely
battle for it!"

"The king!" cried Jean, throwing the door open. "His majesty has
arrived, and awaits my lady in her parlor."

"I am coming," said Wilhelmine, calmly. "Hurry down into the park, and
tell my son and daughter that their father is here. They are down on
the river; they must come at once to greet his majesty."



CHAPTER VIII.

NEW LOVE.


The king advanced to meet Wilhelmine with a gentle smile; and when,
after a formal obeisance, she congratulated him in cold and ceremonious
terms, Frederick William burst out into laughter, caught her in his
arms, and pressed a kiss on her brow.

Wilhelmine trembled, and tears rushed to her eyes. She felt like
clasping him in her arms and conjuring him, with tender reproaches
and passionate words of love, not to abandon her, and not to drive
herself and his children out into the cold world. But she repressed her
emotion--she knew the king could not endure sad faces, and always fled
from a woman in tears.

She had the courage to smile, and seem to be gay; and her countenance
bore no trace of disquiet or anxiety. She conversed with perfect
composure and indifference, as if no change had taken or ever could
take place in their relations to each other.

Frederick William's joyousness had at first been assumed, to hide his
embarrassment; and he felt greatly relieved by Wilhelmine's manner. He
abandoned himself wholly to the charming society of the beautiful and
agreeable friend, who had always so well understood how to enliven him
and banish all care from his breast. And when the two children entered
the parlor, and his favorite Alexander, a boy of ten years of age, ran
forward, looked wonderingly at his papa king, and then threw his arms
tenderly around his neck, and kissed and hugged him, regardless of his
royalty; when the lovely daughter, in the bloom of sixteen summers,
the charming image of her young mother, walked forward, and seated
herself on one of his knees opposite her brother, who sat on the other;
and when the still beautiful mother stepped up to this group, her
eyes beaming and her face wreathed in smiles, and clasped father and
children in one embrace, a feeling of infinite comfort filled Frederick
William's breast, and tears rushed to his eyes.

He gently pushed the two children from his knees, and arose. "Go down
into the garden, my pets, and wait for me in the rose-pavilion, when we
will watch the sun set. But now go, as I have something to say to your
mother."

"But nothing unpleasant, I hope, papa?" said Alexander, anxiously. "You
have nothing to say to my mamma that will make her sad?"

"And if I had," asked Frederick William, smiling, "what would you do to
prevent it?"

"If you had," replied the boy, with a bold and defiant expression, "I
know very well what I would do. I would not go away. I would remain
here, even if my papa ordered me to go. But for this once I could not
be obedient, although I should be scolded for it."

"And what effect would your remaining here have, Alexander?" asked the
king.

"It would have this effect, your majesty," replied the boy, gravely.
"My dear mamma would then hear nothing that would make her feel sad, or
perhaps even make her cry."

"But if I should tell her something in your presence that would make
her feel sad?"

"That you will not do, papa!" cried Alexander, erecting himself
proudly. "No, while I am here you will certainly not make my mamma sad;
for you know that I would cry too, if my mamma cried, and you certainly
could not bear to see your poor little son and his mamma weeping
bitterly."

"You love your mamma very much, I suppose?"

"Yes," exclaimed the boy, throwing his arms around his mother's neck,
and laying his curly head on her bosom; "yes, I love my mamma very
dearly; and my heart almost breaks when I see her cry. And she cries
very often now, and--"

"Go, Alexander," said his mother, interrupting him. "You see your
sister is an obedient daughter, and has already obeyed her father's
command. Follow her now, my son; learn from your sister to obey your
father without murmuring."

"Yes, my son, follow your sister," said the king, gently. "Fear
nothing, my boy, I have no intention of making your mother feel sad."

"Then I will go, papa," cried Alexander, as he pressed his father's
hand tenderly to his lips. He then skipped joyfully out of the room.

The king followed the handsome boy, with an affectionate look, until
the door closed behind him. He then turned to Wilhelmine, who met his
gaze with a gentle smile. "Wilhelmine, I have entered on a new life
to-day. The poor prince royal, who was harassed with debt, has become
a rich and mighty king. A young king's first and most sacred duty
is to prove his gratitude to those who were his loving and faithful
friends, while he was yet prince royal. And therefore, Wilhelmine, you
were my first thought; therefore am I come to you to prove that I have
a grateful heart, and can never forget the past. You have undergone
hardships, and suffered want for me; the hour of reward has now come.
Impart to me all your wishes freely, and without reservation, and
I swear to you that they shall be fulfilled. Will you have a name,
a proud title? will you have jewelry or treasures? will you have a
magnificent landed estate? Speak out, tell me what you desire, for I
have come to reward you, and I am king."

She looked at him proudly, with sparkling eyes. "You have come to
reward me," said she, "and you are king. What care I for your royalty!
The king has not the power to grant my wishes!"

"What is it, then, that you wish?" he asked, in embarrassment.

"I wish what the king cannot, what only the man can grant. I wish you
to love me as dearly as the prince royal loved me. I crave no riches
and no treasures, no titles and no estates. When we swore that we
would love and be true to each other until death, you did not dare to
think that you would some day reward me for my love. When we exchanged
our vows of love and fidelity, written with our blood, this was the
marriage contract of our hearts, and this contract consisted of but one
paragraph. It only secured to each of us the love and fidelity of the
other as a dower. Let me retain this dower, Frederick William; keep
your treasures, titles, and estates, for your favorites and flatterers.
Such things are good enough for them, but not for me--not for the
mother of your children! Leave me in possession of my dower of your
love and fidelity!"

Frederick lowered his eyes in confusion, and did not seem to see her
stretch out her arms imploringly. He turned away and walked slowly to
and fro.

Wilhelmine's arms sank down, and a deep sigh escaped her lips. "The
decisive hour has come," said she to herself. "It shall find me armed
and prepared for the struggle!"

Suddenly the king stopped in front of her, and a ray of determination
beamed in his genial, handsome countenance. "Wilhelmine," said he, "I
stand on the threshold of a great and sublime future. I will not act a
lie at such a time. Between us there must be perfect and entire truth.
Are you ready to hear it?"

"I am ready," said she, gravely. "Truth and death are preferable to
life and falsehood."

"Come, Wilhelmine," continued the king, extending his hand. "Let
us seat ourselves on the sofa, where we have so often conversed in
earnestness and sincerity. Let us converse in the same spirit to-day,
and open our hearts to each other in honest sincerity." He conducted
her to the sofa, and seated himself at her side. She laid her head on
his shoulder, and subdued sobs escaped her breast.

"Do not speak yet," she whispered. "Let me rest a moment, and think
of the beautiful past, now that your future looks so bright. I have
not the courage to look at the future. It seems to me that I am like
those unhappy beings, of whom Dante narrates, that they walk onward
with their faces turned backward, and that they cannot see what is
coming, but only that which has been and which lies behind them. Ah,
like them I see only what has been. I see us two, young, happy, and
joyous, for the star of our youthful love shone over us. I see you at
my side as my teacher, instructing me, and endeavoring to cultivate
my mind.--Frederick, do you remember the Italian lessons you gave me?
With you I read Dante, you explained to me this awful picture of the
reversed faces. Shall I now experience through you the dreadful reality
of what you then explained in the poem? Shall I shudder at the aspect
of the future, and only live on that which is past and gone? Tell me,
Frederick, can it be true, can it be possible? Does love, with all its
happiness and bliss, then really lie only behind us, and no longer
before us? But no, no, do say so!" she cried, imploringly, as she saw
that he was about to speak; "let us be still and dream on for a moment,
as we are now on the threshold of a new era, as you say." She ceased
speaking, and buried her head in Frederick William's bosom. He laid his
hand on her neck and pressed her to his heart. A long pause ensued. A
last ray of the setting sun shone in through the window, and illumined
with its golden light the head of the poor woman who clung trembling to
her lover's bosom.

The last ray of the setting sun! The spirits of the past danced and
trembled in its luminous course; the days which had been, sparkled and
glittered in its last ray, and then expired.

"Ah," sighed the king, after an interval of silence, "why is the human
heart so weak? why does it not retain like the precious stone its
brilliant tints and fiery lustre? why do the rainbow hues and fire of
love vanish? Why has fate ordained that all things should be subject to
change, even love?"

Wilhelmine raised her head--the hour of bitterness was past; she now
had courage to face the future, to pass the threshold of the new era.
What has the future in store for her? Will it be gloomy? Has the sun
set for her whole life, as its last ray has set in the chamber where
she now sits, in night and darkness, at the side of the man she once
called the sun of her life?

"You no longer love me, Frederick William!"

"I do love you, Wilhelmine; certainly I do, right cordially and
sincerely."

She uttered a loud cry and pressed her hand to her heart. How different
was this tame assurance of love to the passionate protestations of
former days!

"Speak on, Frederick William, speak on! I am prepared to hear all! You
love me right cordially and sincerely, you say?"

"Yes, Wilhelmine, and God is my witness that this is the truth. I
desire to do everything to contribute to your happiness?"

"Everything! everything, but love me as heretofore!"

"Ah, Wilhelmine, man is but man after all, and no God! Nothing in his
nature is eternal and imperishable, not even love; not that ardent,
passionate love which is only crowned by the possession of the loved
and adored object. But possession it is, this longed-for possession,
that kills love. We are only charmed with that for which we long;
when once attained we become accustomed to it, and custom begets
indifference. It is heart-rending that it should be so, but it is so!
We cannot change human nature, and human we all are!"

"Words, words," she murmured. "Why not say it all at once. You do not
love me? You love another? Answer these two questions; I conjure you,
answer them!"

"I will, Wilhelmine. I no longer love you, you say. It is true, I
no longer love you as I once loved you, but perhaps more, perhaps
better, more purely! I no longer love you, but I entertain for you the
dearest and most enduring friendship. Love is like the sun: it shines
brightly in the morning, but sets when evening comes. Friendship is
like the evening star, ever present, and only obscured at times by
the greater brilliancy of the sun. Wilhelmine our sun has at last set
after gladdening us with its rays for many long years. And you cannot
justly complain of its departure; it was necessary that night should
ultimately come. But the evening-star still shines in the heavens, and
will ever shine there! I pray you, Wilhelmine, be no weak, no ordinary
woman! Do not make useless complaints, but look at matters as they
are. Be strong, and overcome the petty vanity of the woman who feels
herself insulted when her lover's passion cools. I do not love you;
and, as I am a man, and as the human heart is always susceptible to a
new love, I am also ready to make this admission: I love another! Be
composed, do not interrupt me with reproaches. This is unalterable, and
we must have the courage to look the truth in the face! Yes, I love
another, and love her as ardently as I once loved you, but--I now no
longer believe in an eternity of passion; I know that it will decline,
and I therefore no longer tell my new love as I once told you. I will
love you as long as I live; but I only say, I will love you as long
as my heart will permit! I know that a day will come when I will also
weary of this love; but never, never will the day come, Wilhelmine,
when the friendship I feel for you could grow cold, when I could become
indifferent to her I once so passionately loved, and to whom I owe the
happiest years of my life! Some day my heart will be callous to all
love and all women, but it will ever beat warmly for you; the days of
my youth will be reflected from your brow, and the recollections of
happy years will bind me more firmly to you, than all the vows of love
could bind me to other women. Be as strong, brave, and wise, as you
have always been; forgive me this human weakness. Renounce my love, and
accept my friendship--my true, lasting, and imperishable friendship."

"Friendship!" she repeated, with mocking laughter. "The word has a
freezing sound. You promised me glowing wine, and now you offer to
quench the thirst of my heart with cold water."

"Of wine we grow weary, Wilhelmine. Heavenly intoxication is followed
by highly terrestrial headache; but pure water refreshes and revives
without intoxicating; it gives health and tranquillizes the heart."

"Or turns it to ice," rejoined Wilhelmine.

"Not so, it gives new warmth! And thus it is with friendship also,
Wilhelmine."

"And all this means," said she, sobbing, "that you intend to drive me
from your side, to banish me? I am to be compelled to yield to a rival?"

"No, that you shall not do!" he cried with vivacity. "No, you are
only to consent to be my friend, to elevate yourself above all
petty jealousy, and to wisely and discreetly adapt yourself to the
unavoidable. If you should not be able to do this, Wilhelmine, if
you should attempt to play the _rôle_ of the jealous Orsina, instead
of that of the discreet friend, then only would I, to my own great
sorrow, be compelled to separate from you, to renounce the pleasure of
associating with my dear friend, and--"

"No," she cried in dismay, as she threw her arms around him; "no, I
cannot live without you, I will not go into exile with my poor, dear
children!"

"With your children!" repeated the king. "Who thinks of sending these
children into exile?"

"Do you not consider it possible that you will send me into exile? And
where I am, there my children will also be, of course!"

"Where you are, Wilhelmine, there your daughter will be; that is lawful
and natural. But the son belongs to the father; and, whatever may
divide and separate us, my son Alexander shall not leave me; my bright,
handsome boy, remains with his father."

It had grown dark, and he could not see the light of the bold
resolution Wilhelmine had formed, sparkling in her eyes.

She laid her hand on Frederick William's shoulder. "We are standing on
the threshold of a new era," said she, "my son shall now decide between
you and me. I lay my fate in his hands, and will accept it as if it
came from God. We will have him called, and he shall choose between his
father and his mother. If he decides to leave me and remain with you,
I will bow my head in humility, and will remain, and content myself
with your friendship. I will stand in darkness, and view from afar my
happy rival sunning herself in your love. But if my son should decide
to go with his mother, then, like Hagar, I will wander forth into the
desert. But I will not complain, and will not feel unhappy; I will have
at my side, my son, the image of his father; the son in whom I love the
father!"

"So let it be," cried the king. "Our son shall decide. Go, and bring
him in."

"No, I will only see him in your presence; you might otherwise suppose
I had influenced his decision. Permit me to have him called."

She rang the bell, and ordered the servant to bring lights, and request
his young master to come at once to his majesty's presence.

"We will soon learn the decision of fate," said Wilhelmine, when the
servant had closed the door. "For fate will speak to me through the
mouth of my son!"



CHAPTER IX.

THE DECISION.


A few minutes had hardly elapsed before the door of the parlor was
opened, and Wilhelmine's son entered. With flushed cheeks and a
displeased expression on his handsome face, the boy walked up to the
king, who was gazing at him tenderly.

"My gracious father," said he, "you promised to join us in the
rose-pavilion, down at the river side; and we waited and waited, but
all in vain! The sunset was splendid; it was a beautiful sight to see
the sun fall into the water all at once; but you would not come to tell
the dear sun 'good-night.' Why not? I think a king should always keep
his word, and you certainly promised to come!"

"Well, my severe young gentleman," said the king, smiling, "I beg your
pardon. But I had to speak with your mother on matters of importance,
and you must have the goodness to excuse me."

The boy turned and looked inquiringly at the face of his mother. "Was
it necessary, mamma?"

The king burst into laughter. "Really," he cried, "you are a grand
inquisitor, my little Alexander. I am almost afraid of you. But you
have not yet answered his severity, mamma. Excuse me to this young
gentleman by assuring him that we had matters of the gravest importance
to discuss."

"Alexander knows that what the king says and does is above all blame,"
replied Wilhelmine, gravely; "and I beg that he may be excused for
losing sight of the king and thinking only of the indulgent father. But
now hear why your father sent for you, my son; and answer his questions
as your little head and heart shall prompt."

"Shall I state the question?" asked the king, in some embarrassment. "I
had rather you did it, Wilhelmine. However," he continued, as she shook
her head in dissent, "it shall be as you desire. Listen, my little
Alexander. Your mother thinks of going on a journey, and of leaving
here for a few years. I intend to give your mother several estates in
Prussia as a remembrance of this day, and she may conclude to make
them her home for some years. Although such a life may be pleasant for
ladies, it is very quiet and lonely, and not at all suitable for a
young man who still has a great deal to learn, and who is ambitious of
becoming a soldier, which he could not well accomplish in the country.
I therefore, very naturally, desire that you should separate yourself
from your mother for a few years, and remain with me, your father,
who certainly loves you as much as she does. But we have determined
to leave the decision to you, although you are still so young, and I
now ask you, my son, will you go with your mother, or will you remain
with your father? Do not reply at once, my child, but take time for
consideration."

"Oh, my dear papa," said the boy, quickly, "there is nothing to
consider, I know at once what I ought to do. My dear mamma has always
remained with me, she has never deserted me. And when I had the
measles, a short time ago, she sat at my bedside, day and night, and
played with me, and told me such beautiful stories. And I would never
have got well if my mamma had not nursed me. Whenever she left my bed,
if only for a few minutes, I grew worse and suffered much more, and
when she returned I always felt relieved at once. And how could I now
desert the dear mamma, who never deserted me?"

"Oh, my child, my darling child," cried Wilhelmine, her eyes filling
with tears, "God bless you for these words! But yet this shall not be a
decision. You must take some time for consideration, my son. I am going
to live on my estates, as your father told you. It will be very quiet
and lonely in the country; there will be no soldiers, no beautiful
houses, no amusements, and no boys to play with. But if you remain here
with your father, you will have all this, and be honored and respected
as a prince. You will live with your tutor, in a splendid house, in the
beautiful city of Berlin, you will take delightful rides and drives,
and see the soldier's drill every day. Your father will give you all
you desire."

"Then let him give me my mamma," cried the boy eagerly. "Yes, my papa,
if I can live with my dear mamma in a fine house in Berlin, and if you
will come right often to see us, I will have all I desire."

"But your mother will not remain in Berlin, Alexander, and, therefore,
you must decide whether you will go with her, or stay here with your
father."

"Well, then," said Alexander, gravely, "if I must choose between you,
I will go with mamma, of course. To be sure, I am very sorry to leave
my papa, but I cannot live without my mamma; she is so good to me and
loves me so dearly, I am always afraid when she is not with me."

Speechless with emotion, Wilhelmine sank on her knees, her countenance
radiant with delight, and extended her arms toward her son, who threw
himself on her breast with a loving cry.

The king turned away, his heart filled with unutterable sadness.
He covered his eyes with his hands, and stood in the middle of the
chamber, isolated and deserted in his grief, while he could hear the
kisses, sobs, and whispered words of tenderness of the mother and
her son. Suddenly he felt a light touch on his shoulder and heard a
mournful, trembling voice murmur his name. The king withdrew his hands
from his countenance, and his eyes met Wilhelmine's. She stood before
the king, her right hand resting on the boy's shoulder, who had thrown
his arm around her waist and nestled closely to her side.

"Farewell, Frederick William!" said she in a loud and solemn voice.
"Hagar is going forth into the desert of life! The estates and
treasures which you offer me, I reject; my children must not suffer
want, however, and the little that has heretofore been mine, I will
retain. As soon as I find a place where I wish to remain, you will
be informed of it, and I desire that the furniture of this house be
sent to me there. The house shall be sold, and the proceeds will
constitute my fortune and the inheritance of my children. I leave here
with my children to-night. My thoughts and blessings will, however,
remain with the father of my children. Farewell, your majesty, and may
your happiness be complete! Farewell!" She bowed her head in a last
greeting, and then turned and walked slowly through the room, supported
by her son.

The king looked after her in breathless suspense; with every step she
took his anxiety increased. And when she opened the door, and mother
and son were about to pass the threshold, without even once turning to
look at him, whose eyes were filled with tears, and who was regarding
them with such fondness and such agony, he uttered a cry of dismay,
rushed after them, seized Wilhelmine's arm, and thrust her back into
the room with such violence that she fell helplessly to the floor, and
her son burst into tears.

His sobs seemed to arouse Wilhelmine from her insensibility. She arose,
and turned with proud composure to the king, who stood before her
almost breathless with passion.

"Send him out of the room," she murmured. "He should not see your
majesty in this condition."

The king made no reply, but took the boy by the hand, kissed him
tenderly, and then led him to the door, and locked it behind him.
He then returned to Wilhelmine, who awaited him with pallid cheeks,
although her manner was perfectly composed.

"Wilhelmine," said he, uttering each word with difficulty, "Wilhelmine,
it is not possible. You cannot leave me. If you go, my youth, my
happiness, my good star go with you! Have pity on me! See how I suffer!
Be great, be good, be merciful! Stay with me!"

"Thou hearest him, O God," cried Wilhelmine, raising her arms toward
heaven. "Thou hearest him, and Thou seest what I suffer! I have loved
him from my youth. I have been true to him in every thought, with every
breath of life. I have borne for his sake shame and disgrace, and the
contempt of the world. I have bestowed upon him all the treasures of
my soul and heart; and yet my sacrifices have not been great enough, I
have not yet been sufficiently humiliated. He demands of the mother of
his children a still greater sacrifice: that I renounce his love, and
stand by and see him give to another the love he swore should be mine!
O Thou Great, Thou Almighty God, have pity on me! Send down a flash of
lightning to kill and save me! I cannot live without him, and I may not
live with him."

"Wilhelmine," said the king, in a hollow voice, "you will not make
this sacrifice? You will not remain with me as my best and dearest
friend--the friend to whom I will give my whole confidence, who shall
share my thoughts as my sister soul, and from whom I will conceal no
secrets?"

She slowly shook her head. What did Cleopatra determine to do, rather
than grace the triumph of her faithless lover and her hated rival, and
pass under the yoke? She determined to die; she let loose the serpent
which had been gnawing at her heart, that it might take her life. "I
prefer to die like Cleopatra, rather than live like the Marquise de
Pompadour."

"Well, then," said Frederick William, his voice trembling with emotion,
and looking tenderly at Wilhelmine, "I will prove to you that the
friendship I entertain for you is stronger than the love I have given
to another. I sacrifice to you, the beloved of my youth and the friend
of my soul, all the wishes and hopes of my heart. I will renounce my
love for the maid of honor, Julie von Voss, and will see her no more.
She shall leave the court, and I will never seek to recall her. Are you
now contented, Wilhelmine? Will you remain with me, and not deprive me
of my dear son, who was about to leave me on your account? Wilhelmine,
will you try to forget, and--" The king's voice faltered, and tears
rushed to his eyes, but with an effort he steadied his voice and
continued: "and will you sincerely endeavor to compensate me for what I
sacrifice?"

With a cry of joy, Wilhelmine threw her arms around the king's neck,
and pressed a long and fervent kiss on his quivering lips.

"I thank you, Frederick William, I thank you! You promised me when
you came that you would to-day reward me for my love and fidelity
during the long years which have been. You have kept your promise, my
beloved; you have rewarded me. You have made the greatest sacrifice
one human being can make for another. You have sacrificed the passion
of your heart, and are ready to keep the faith which you sealed with
your blood. See here, Frederick William, see this scar on my hand! This
wound I gave myself, in order that I might write for you in my own
blood my vow of love and fidelity. You kissed the wound and drank of my
blood, swearing that you would always love, and never desert me. You
have kept your oath, Frederick William. You have conquered yourself;
you have now sealed your faith with the greatest human sacrifice."

The king suppressed the sigh which trembled on his lips, and pressed
Wilhelmine's head to his bosom. "Now you will remain, Wilhelmine? Now
you will not go?"

She raised her head quickly, and looked at him with beaming eyes. "I
will remain with you, Frederick William; I will remain. And, stronger
in my love than Cleopatra was, I will pass under the yoke, and march
quietly in the triumphal procession of my rival. Sacrifice for
sacrifice! You were ready to sacrifice your passion, I will sacrifice
to you my woman's pride and vanity! I, the discarded woman, will walk
without murmuring behind your new love and be her trainbearer. Go,
Frederick William, and woo this beautiful young lady; wed her, if
your priests will permit; be happy with her, and love her as long as
you can, and then return to your friend, who can never cease to love
you--whose affection for you is the breath of her life."

"Oh, Wilhelmine, my dear, my generous Wilhelmine," cried the king,
pressing her to his heart, "I can never forget this noble-hearted
generosity; I can never cease to be grateful! I have told you already,
and I now repeat it: the human heart is inconstant, and every love must
at last die; but friendship lives forever. No earthly desires dim the
pure flame of its holy affection. Oh, Wilhelmine, I will never desert
you; never shall your enemies and rivals succeed in estranging my heart
from you, my friend."

"Swear that they shall not!" cried Wilhelmine, raising her right hand.
"Lay your fingers on this scar on my hand, and swear that you will be
my dear friend throughout my whole life, that nothing shall separate
us, and that nothing shall induce you to drive me from your side,
but that I shall live where you live, and ever be your friend, your
confidante, and your sister soul."

The king laid the fingers of his right hand on the scar, repeated the
words she had spoken, and swore that he would be her true and devoted
friend until death, that he would never drive her from his side, but
that she should live where he lived, and remain with him as his friend
and confidante for all time.[25]

"And now that we have come to an understanding," said he with a joyous
smile, "I may perhaps be permitted to reward my dear friend, and shed a
ray of my newly-acquired royalty on this humble dwelling! You said some
time ago that you desired to sell this house and live on the proceeds
of its sale. I approve of your plan. I will purchase this house of you
for five hundred thousand dollars. You will endeavor to live on the
interest of this sum; if there should be a hitch now and then, and
debts should arise, you need only inform me of the fact and they shall
be paid."

"Oh, my dear, my generous friend," cried Wilhelmine, "how can I thank
you, how--"

"Be still," said the king, interrupting her, "I have not yet quite
finished. The house is now mine; and the price agreed upon shall be
paid you to-morrow out of the royal fund. As I can do what I please
with my own property, I intend to make a present of it to the mother
of the Count and Countess von der Mark. And it will be my first care
to have it enlarged and elegantly furnished, in order that it may
be a suitable dwelling for the Count and Countess von der Mark, and
particularly for their noble and beautiful mother!"

"The Count and Countess von der Mark?" repeated Wilhelmine with
astonishment. "Who are they? Who is their mother? I never heard of
them!"

"You shall soon become acquainted with them, only wait," said the king
smiling; and he went to the door, unlocked it, and gave the bell-rope
which hung beside it a violent pull.

"Where are the children?" asked the king, of the servant who rushed
forward to answer his summons.

"Your majesty, my young master and mistress are in the dining-room."

"Send them to me immediately," said the king; and he remained standing
at the door awaiting them. When they came running into the parlor with
anxious, inquiring looks, the king took them by the hand and conducted
them to their mother.

"Madame," said he, gravely, "I have the honor to introduce to you
Countess Mariane and Count Alexander von der Mark."

"Count Alexander von der Mark?" repeated the boy, looking up
wonderingly at his father. "Who is that?"

"That you are, my son," said the king, as he stooped down and raised
the boy up in his arms. "You are the Count von der Mark, and your
sister is the countess; and you shall have the Prussian eagle in your
coat of arms, and shall be honored at my court as my dear, handsome
son. All the proud courtiers shall bow their heads before you and your
sister. The Count and Countess von der Mark shall have the precedence
at my court over all the noble families; and their place shall
immediately be behind the royal princesses."

"And that will be my dear mamma's place, too?" said Alexander. "She
will always be where we are?"

"Yes," said the king hastily, "she will always remain with her dear
children. Yes, and (as the young count once remarked that, if he
could live in a splendid house 'under the Linden-trees'[26] with his
mother, and if I would go to see them right often, he would have all
he desired), I will make him a present of the most magnificent house
'under the Linden-trees' in Berlin, and the young count shall live
there, and I will visit him right often in his new home."

"That will be splendid," cried the boy clapping his hands. "You are
delighted, too, are you not, Mariane?"

"Certainly I am," replied his sister, smiling, "and I thank his majesty
for the great honor he confers in giving us such grand titles."

"I am glad to hear that you are pleased with your title, my dear
daughter; but, as names and titles do not sustain life, a sufficient
amount will be set apart for your use as pin-money. And when a suitable
and agreeable gentleman demands your hand in marriage, you shall have
a dowry of two hundred thousand dollars. When this becomes known you
will certainly not fail to have a vast number of admirers from which to
make your selection. No more thanks, if you please! We will now go to
dinner. Count von der Mark, give your mother your arm, I will escort
the young countess."

"Your majesty," announced the servant, who entered at this moment,
"Colonel von Bischofswerder and Privy-Chamberlain von Wöllner have just
arrived, and beg to be admitted to your majesty's presence!"

"True, indeed," murmured the king, "I had altogether forgotten them.
Madame, you will please excuse me for withdrawing from your society.
I must not keep these gentlemen waiting, as I directed them to meet
me here on important business. When this business is transacted I
must however return to Potsdam. Farewell, and await me at breakfast
to-morrow morning."



CHAPTER X.

THE INVOCATION.


"You have then really come, my friends," said the king. "You have
really determined to attempt to invoke the Invisible?"

"God is mighty in the weak," said Wöllner, folding his hands piously;
"and we men are merely the vessels into which He pours His anger and
His love, and in which He makes Himself manifest. By fasting and prayer
I have made myself worthy to commune with spirits."

"The longing after the Invisible Fathers throbs in my heart and brain;
and, if in the heat of this longing I invoke them, they will lend an
ear to my entreaties, and approach to answer the questions of your
majesty, their best-beloved son."

"Nor have I a doubt on the subject," said Bischofswerder, complacently.
"I will entreat the spirit of the grand-kophta with the whole strength
of my soul, and with all the means which the holy secret sciences place
at my disposal. The hour has come in which will be determined whether
the immortal spirit controls the mortal body, compelling it to obey its
behests in spite of time and space."

"Then you really consider it possible, my friend? You are yet of
the opinion that the grand-kophta will appear in answer to your
invocations?"

"Yes, sire, I am of that opinion!"

"That is to say, his spirit will come amongst us in some intangible
shape. You cannot be in earnest when you assert that he will answer
your call in the body, as I have already told you that the grand-kophta
is in London. Our ambassador not only saw him there, but spoke with him
the very day he dispatched the courier, who arrived here yesterday."

"Your majesty, the secret sciences teach me that the spirit controls
the body; and we will now test the truth of this lesson. If the
grand-kophta does not appear in flesh and blood, and give to your
majesty, with his own hand, the elixir of life for which your soul
thirsts, science lies, and the sublime spirits consider me unworthy of
their confidence! In that event, I will renounce my right to enter the
inner temple; it will be evident that I am not one of the enlightened.
I will bow submissively to the anger and contempt of the Invisible, and
return voluntarily to the outer temple to begin my apprenticeship anew."

The king shook his head thoughtfully. "Your faith is heroic; and I only
hope you are not doomed to be disappointed. And now, let us begin our
work!"

"His majesty's will be done," replied the two Rosicrucians,
respectfully. "Will your majesty permit us to go to the laboratory in
order to make our preparations?"

"I will accompany you, and render assistance as an inferior brother.
You know that no one besides us three is permitted to enter this
laboratory; and I therefore keep the key in a secret drawer of my
writing-desk, which I alone can open!"

"Permit us to withdraw, in order that we may not see from what place
your majesty takes the key."

The two Rosicrucians walked toward the door, and turned their faces so
that they could not see what was done behind them.

"I have the key," said the king, after a short interval. "Come, my
brothers. I am now ready!"

He walked rapidly to the door, unlocked it, and entered the laboratory,
followed by Bischofswerder and Wöllner.

But hardly had the king stepped into the room before he uttered a cry
of terror, and staggered back, pale with fright.

"The Invisibles! the Invisibles!" he murmured. "See! See! They knew we
were coming, and have made all the preparations!"

"All hail, the Invisible Fathers," cried Wöllner, with enthusiasm.
"They have prepared the altar."

"The Invisibles are awaiting us; they approve of our purpose," shouted
Bischofswerder, exultingly. "Oh, behold, my king! Oh, see, my brother!"

He drew the king eagerly to the large furnace which occupied one entire
side of the laboratory; and it really looked as if invisible hands had
been at work in this chamber. A bright fire was burning in the furnace,
jets of flame darted forth through the openings, and licked the pans
and retorts in which liquids and mixtures of various colors boiled and
simmered.

"All is prepared," said Bischofswerder, who had been examining the
retorts closely. "It seems the Invisibles are concocting a secret
mixture. But my eyes are blinded, and my brain is still in darkness;
these substances and elixirs are unknown to me; I only feel that their
fragrance fills me with wondrous delight. Oh, come, your majesty, and
inhale this blessed aroma--this atmosphere of invisible worlds!"

The king timidly stepped up close to the furnace, and inclined his head
over the retort pointed out by Bischofswerder. Dense vapors arose from
the bubbling mass and enveloped the king's head.

"It is true," said the king, inhaling deep draughts of the vapor. "It
creates a wondrous sensation of delight and ecstasy!"

"It is the fragrance of the spirit-world," said Wöllner,
impressively.--"Oh, I feel, I know that my prayers have been heard.
They are coming! Lo, the Invisibles are approaching! Look, my king,
look up there!"

The king turned eagerly to Wöllner, whose right arm was raised, and
pointed to the opposite wall.

"See, see these heavenly forms waving their hands and greeting us!"

"I see nothing," murmured the king, sadly. "The visions which bless the
eye of the anointed are invisible to me. I see nothing!"

No, the king saw nothing! To him the chamber was empty. He saw no
spirits, nor did he see Bischofswerder throw a handful of white powder
into the large retort at this moment. But he saw the white clouds which
now ascended from the furnace; he saw the flames which burst forth from
the retorts, and, in the explosions and detonations which ensued, he
heard the roar of invisible musketry.

"The Invisibles are contending fiercely," exclaimed Wöllner. "The
good and bad spirits are warring with each other, and struggling for
the possession of our noble king. The holy ones and the Rosicrucians
are battling with the freethinkers and scoffers, and the so-called
enlightened. Give the former the victory, Almighty God! Incline Thyself
to the believers and Rosicrucians, and deal out destruction to the
unbelievers and scoffers! On my knees I entreat thee, Thou Ruler of all
things! have pity on the king, have pity on us, and--"

A loud and fearful detonation--a whistling, howling roar--drowned his
voice. Dense white clouds, through which tongues of flame darted in
every direction, ascended from the furnace and gradually filled the
room.

The king had staggered back, and would have fallen to the ground, but
for Bischofswerder, who had supported him and conducted him to an
arm-chair, into which he sank back helplessly. His eyes closed, and for
a few moments he was in an unconscious condition.

Suddenly the king's name resounded in his ear and aroused him from this
trance. "Awake, Frederick William, awake! Ours is the victory! The holy
cross of love and of roses is victorious! The evil spirits have flown!
Awake, Frederick William, awake! The Invisibles are ready to answer
your questions!"

The king opened his eyes and looked around. He saw nothing at first but
the clouds which encircled him. But suddenly a face seemed to arise in
their midst--a face of deathly pallor? Long brown hair fell down on
either side of the broad, but low forehead. Its widely-opened glassy
eyes seemed to stare at the king, who shuddered, and would have turned
away had not some invisible power compelled him to continue gazing at
this death-like countenance. By degrees the vision grew more distinct,
and stood out from the surrounding vapor in bolder relief. The neck
and shoulders now appeared, and gradually the entire body of a man of
a powerful build was disclosed. He wore a tightly-fitting jerkin of
leather; his neck was encircled with a broad, double lace collar. A
golden star glittered on his breast, and a richly-embroidered velvet
mantle, bordered with ermine, hung down over his broad shoulders. This
mighty, princely figure stood immovable in the midst of the white
clouds, which enveloped it like a winding-sheet. But its large, proud
eyes seemed fixed on Frederick William with a cold, hard look. The king
shuddered, and uttered low entreaties for mercy.

"Fear nothing, Frederick William," said the vision, which spoke without
opening its lips. These tones struck on the king's ear like a voice
from the grave. "Fear nothing, Frederick William; I have not come to
alarm, but to console you. The Invisibles have sent me to soothe your
heart, and give peace and consolation to your soul. Do you not know who
I am, Frederick William?"

"No," replied the king, in a low voice, "I do not."

"I am Philip of Hesse," rejoined the closed lips. "Philip of Hesse,
called, by foolish and short-sighted men, 'The Magnanimous.'"

"Ah, now I know who you are, my prince," cried the king. "You, it was,
who overthrew the rebellious peasants in battle, who overcame Franz
von Sickingen, and introduced the reformation into Germany. You were
the prince who submitted to the Emperor Charles the Fifth, after the
unfortunate battle of Mühlberg; were taken prisoner by him, and held
in captivity until released by the treaty of Passau. Tell me, sublime
spirit, are you not the spirit of that noble prince, of Philip the
Magnanimous?"

"I am! My whole life was a struggle, and I had many enemies to contend
with. But my most formidable enemy was my own heart. This enemy was
love, passionate love. Wedded since my sixteenth year with Christina of
Saxony, selected as my wife for state reasons; my heart became inflamed
with love for the beautiful Margaret von Saale, and my one great desire
was to win her and call her my wife. But her virtue withstood my
entreaties; and, although she loved me, she was nevertheless determined
to fly from me unless our union could be consummated by the blessing of
a priest. It was in vain that I besought her to become mine. These were
days of agony, and this struggle was harder than any I had maintained
on the field of battle. I then suffered and wept as though I were a
puling boy, and not a warrior and prince."

"You are recounting the history of my own sufferings," murmured the
king, in a low voice. "You are describing my own struggles!"

"I know it," replied the apparition. "My eye sees your heart, and
your sufferings, and therefore have I come to console you, to tell
you that I have suffered as you suffer, and that your wounds shall be
healed as mine were. The maiden you love is as virtuous as Margaret
von Saale was. Like Margaret von Saale she demands that she be made
your wedded wife. In my distress and misery I addressed myself to the
great reformer, whom I had patronized with pious zeal. I asked Luther
if the church could bless a marriage of the left hand, when a marriage
of the right hand already existed; and Luther, the man of justice and
of truth, replied: 'It stands in the Bible that the left hand shall
not know what the right does; and, consequently, it is not necessary
that the right hand should know what the left does. The wife of the
left hand has nothing to do with the wife of the right, forced upon
you for reasons of state. The former is the wife of the prince, the
latter will be the wife of the man. And, as two persons are united in
you, the prince and the man, these persons can contract two marriages,
the one for the prince and the other for the man, and the blessing of
the church is admissible for both.' But the sensitive conscience of
my beautiful Margaret was not yet satisfied. I now turned to Philip
Melanchthon, the great scholar, the strictly moral and virtuous man,
and demanded his opinion, telling him that the decision should rest
in his hands. But Philip Melanchthon decided as Luther had done, and
proved by Holy Writ that such a marriage was possible and admissible.
He, however, added the condition that the consent of the wife of the
right hand must be obtained before the marriage of the left hand could
be consummated. My generous wife gave her consent. Margaret von Saale
became my wedded wife, and the mother of seven children, who were the
joy and pride of their parents. To tell you this, I left the peaceful
grave. Such were the commands of the sublime spirits, who are greater
than I, and who rule over the living and the dead. Learn by my example
how virtue can be reconciled to love. Put away from you the unchaste
woman with whom you live; turn your countenance from her forever--and
seek and find your happiness at the side of the noble young woman to
whom you shall be united by priestly blessings. Farewell! My time has
expired, I must go."

The apparition seemed to melt away; it grew darker and fainter. For
a while its dim and uncertain outlines could be seen when the clouds
lifted, and then it disappeared entirely. The clouds also slowly
vanished; and now they were gone, the fire could once more be seen
burning brightly in the furnace. The king looked around, and observed
his two friends kneeling and praying on either side of his chair.

"Have you been listening, my friends? Did you hear the utterances of
the blessed spirits?"

"We have heard nothing but mutterings and shrieks, and therefore we
have been entreating the sublime spirits to mitigate their anger," said
Wöllner, shaking his head. "But I saw a vision, a heavenly vision,"
cried Bischofswerder. "I saw my beloved king and master, standing
between two noblewomen. They both regarded him tenderly. They stood,
the one on the right, the other on the left hand; on the extended right
hand of both glittered a golden ring, the precious symbol of marriage.
The countenance of my royal master was radiant with delight; and above
him shone the star of pure and chaste love. And it seemed to me that
I heard a heavenly voice cry: 'Find your happiness at the side of the
noble young woman to whom you will be joined by priestly blessings.'"

"These were the last words of the sublime spirit that appeared to me,"
said the king, joyfully. "You heard them, my faithful friend, while
wrestling in prayer at my side. Oh, I thank you both; and while I live,
I will reward your fidelity. But, alas," continued the king, with a
deep-drawn sigh, "I only fear that my life will be of short duration! I
feel weak and exhausted, and upon you and your influence, my friend, I
depend for the life-restoring elixir."

"I will procure it, you shall have it," cried Bischofswerder, rising
from his knees with youthful vivacity, in spite of his corpulence. "The
invocation shall now begin. I will command my spirit to leave the body,
and fly through time and space to the grand-kophta, to entreat him to
give to the doubting, unbelieving king a visible sign of his heavenly
power, to convince him that the mind rules over the body."

"Do not attempt it, my dear friend; do not, I solemnly conjure you,"
implored Wöllner. "It is tempting God, to seek to set at naught the
laws of Nature. It is possible that your mighty spirit has power to
tear itself from the body, and transport itself from place to place
with the rapidity of thought; but consider the difficulty of returning,
consider whether the cold, dead body can be a fitting receptacle and
abode for the spirit on its return."

"I know that this is the great danger to which I shall be exposed,"
replied Bischofswerder. "But I will dare all for my king, and no danger
shall terrify me when his health and happiness are at stake.--Be
still, my king! No thanks whatever! I love you! That suffices, that
explains all! And now let me take my departure! Now let me invoke the
grand-kophta, the dispenser of life and health!--But listen, Wöllner,
listen to these last words! If the Invisibles assist me, and enable my
spirit to leave its earthly tenement, my body will grow cold and assume
a death-like appearance. But this must not lead you to suppose that I
am dead. Only when this condition shall have lasted more than half an
hour, I beg that you will kneel down beside my body and entreat the
Invisibles to command my spirit to return to its earthly abode. Truly
I would not wish to remain in a bodiless state, when the king needs
my services. And now, my king and master, permit me to kiss your hand
before I go."

"No, my true, my generous friend, come to my heart!" cried the king, as
he embraced Bischofswerder, and pressed a kiss on his forehead.

"And now, hear me, ye Invisibles! Lend an ear to my prayer! Give wings
to my spirit that it may fly through time and space!--Here, Wöllner!
hold my body!"

Wöllner rushed forward in answer to this call, and caught
Bischofswerder in his arms as he was on the point of falling to the
floor. He rested the head on his breast, covered the face with his
hand, and gently stroked his cheeks and brow. The king, who stood
behind him in breathless suspense, did not comprehend what was going
on, and did not see the little bottle which Wöllner held under his
friend's nose, nor did he see him slip it adroitly into his coat-sleeve
when he arose. But when Wöllner stepped back, and pointed solemnly
to the tranquil body, the king saw that Bischofswerder's spirit had
flown. He saw that the pallid, inanimate object, which lay in the
chair, was nothing more than the empty tenement, once the abode of
Bischofswerder's spirit. Of this, the widely-extended, glassy eyes, and
the stiffened features, were sufficient evidence.

The king shuddered, and turned away. "It is fearful to look upon the
lifeless body of a friend who dies in an endeavor to save and prolong
our life. How fearful, if death should be the stronger, and prevent
the spirit from returning to its dwelling! Not only would we mourn
the loss of a friend, but his death would have been in vain, and the
elixir of life unattained! We must observe the time closely and count
the minutes, in order that the prayers may begin when the half-hour has
elapsed." With trembling hands the king drew his richly-jewelled watch
from his pocket, and watched the creeping hands in breathless anxiety.
His alarm increased as time progressed, and now, when only five minutes
were wanting to complete the half-hour, the king turned pale and
trembled with terror. "Only one minute more, then--"

"He moves," whispered Wöllner. "See, your majesty! Oh, see! There is
life in his eye, his month closes, the hue of life returns to his
cheek. A miracle, a miracle has taken place! The spirit has returned to
the earthly tabernacle!"

Bischofswerder is once more among the living; he arises. His eyes
seek the king and find him. With unsteady gait, a smile on his lips,
he approached the king. "Sire, my spirit greets you, my heart shouts
for joy. I bring you glad tidings! The grand-kophta has yielded to my
entreaties. He approaches to give my king life and health, and above
all things to remove his unbelief!"

"He is then really coming? He approaches?" cried the king, joyfully.

"Call him, your majesty! Call the grand-kophta, but do so with a
believing and confident heart."

"Grand-kophta! Sublimest of the sublime! Lend an ear to my entreaties!
Appear Divo Cagliostro! Appear, my lord and master!"

A flash, a detonation, proceeding from the furnace, near which Wöllner
stands, and all is once more concealed by the clouds of vapor which
fill the room. When they at last rise and pass away, a tall figure,
enveloped in a long black mantle, is seen standing in the middle of
the room. The head only is uncovered, and this head is surrounded with
waving black hair, in the midst of which a precious stone shines and
sparkles with the lustre of a star. And the large black eyes, which are
fastened on the king's countenance, with a mild and tender look, also
shine like stars.

Carried away with rapture and enthusiasm, the king falls on his knees,
and raises his hands in adoration.

But the grand-kophta advanced noiselessly to the kneeling king, begged
him to rise, and helped him to do so with his own hand. "Yes, you are
really my sublime master," cried the enraptured king. "I feel the warm,
living body, the loving pressure of the blessing-dispensing hand. Hail,
master! hail Cagliostro!"

"You appealed to me for assistance," said Cagliostro, in solemn tones.
"I heard the call of the noble messenger you sent me as I was about
to enter the St. James's Palace in London. King George of England had
received another visitation from the demons who confuse his brain and
darken his intellect. I was sent for and urged to come at once and
drive out the demons from the head of the sick king. But it is of
more importance that the healthy should not become sick, than that
the sick man's condition should be somewhat improved. The spirit
Althotas cried out to me, saying: 'Hasten to King Frederick William of
Prussia; without your assistance he must languish and die. Hasten to
preserve his health and strengthen his noble soul with the breath of
immortality.' At first I was uncertain of whom Althotas spoke, for I
had not yet heard of king Frederick's death. But before my eyes there
suddenly arose the vision of an old man reclining in an arm-chair. He
was on the threshold of the grave; his lips quivered and his eye grew
dim, and the blood refused to flow from the open vein. Two weeping
servants stood at his side; a greyhound lay at his feet. Above him in
the air I saw the demons of unbelief struggling for the soul which had
just left the body; but the good angels turned away in anger. And I
interpreted this vision aright; I now knew that the unbelieving king
was dead, and that Frederick William, the favorite of the Invisible
Fathers, was now king of Prussia. Althotas then cried out, for the
second time: 'Hasten, Frederick William needs you sorely. Hasten, that
he may not die. I impart to the mortal the strength of immortality!' I
turned my back on St. James's Palace, and immediately repaired to the
holy laboratory of the spirits, to procure the necessary remedies. I
then arose and flew to my suffering king on the wings of the Invisible."

"It is then true, it is really possible!" cried the enraptured king.
"You are really the great Cagliostro! You have accomplished this
miracle, have compelled the body to subject itself to the will of the
spirit, and fly through time and space at its command! Oh, let me fall
down and embrace your knees! Infuse the heavenly breath of thy lips
into my enfeebled body!"

And he sank on his knees before the grand-kophta, and looked up to him
in supplication.

"Arise, Frederick William; favorite of the Invisible, arise from your
knees! I have not come to humble you, but to raise you up. The king who
rules over millions of human beings, must not bend the knee to mortal
man, and worship that which is visible and perishable. Humble your
immortal spirit before the immortal, and lift up your soul in adoration
to the unseen and imperishable. Be the ruler of men, and the humble
subject of the Invisible. Arise, Frederick William, and listen to what
I have to say, for my time is short, and Althotas awaits me on the
threshold of St James's Palace, in London."

In obedience to this command the king arose from his knees, and stood
before the magician, whose luminous eyes were still fixed intently on
his countenance.

"You are not ill, Frederick William," said he, "nor are you well;
your spirit lacks buoyancy, its wings are drooping, and your pulse is
feeble. Death is slowly but surely approaching, and you would languish
and die, if there were no means of driving off this grim monster."

"Oh, have pity on me! Give me the life-preserving elixir! Save me! I
swear that my gratitude shall be unbounded, and that I am ready to
bestow any reward that the Invisible Fathers may demand."

"They, indeed, demand no sacrifice and accept no reward, as men
do. Their actions are influenced by higher laws. Love, honor, and
obedience, are the rewards they exact."

"And from the depths of my heart, I promise them love, honor, and
obedience."

"The Invisibles know you to be an obedient servant, and therefore
am I here to restore health and strength to your body. But hear me,
Frederick William, and lay my words to heart! In order that death may
obtain no power over you, your heart must regain its joyousness, and
your soul its buoyancy. A passionate love, which you are too weak
to overcome, has filled your heart, and therefore its joyousness is
dimmed. Then, gratify this passion, Frederick William! The Invisibles
give their consent! Let your whole being be imbued with this pure, this
noble love; renounce all ignoble passions and desires. Make the fair
maiden you love your wife, and peace, joy, and tranquillity, will once
more abide in your heart, and your spirit will regain its buoyancy, and
bear you aloft to the heights of enthusiasm. But your body shall also
be restored to health; we will drive from it all weakness and disease.
I bring you the elixir of life, of health, and of strength!"

"Oh, thanks, unspeakable thanks!" cried Frederick William, seizing
the little bottle which Cagliostro held in his hand, and carrying it
eagerly to his lips.

"Let me drink, sublime master! Let me drink of this heavenly elixir at
once!"

"No! Save this precious medicine for a time when you will need it, when
I will no longer be with you. For the present I am here, and I will
infuse strength and health into your body! Receive these blessings,
Frederick William! In the name of the Invisible, I anoint you king of
the world and of life!"

As he uttered these words, he poured a few drops of some fluid on
the king's head from a bottle which he held in his hand. A delicious
fragrance instantly filled the room. The king raised his head with an
exclamation of delight, and inhaled, in long draughts, the fragrant
atmosphere.

"A wondrous sensation thrills my being; I feel so happy, so buoyant! I
am leaving earth; and now I seem to see the portals of Paradise!"

"Take this, and these portals will open to your view," said Cagliostro,
handing the king a little pill of some grayish substance. "Eat this,
and all the bliss of Paradise will be yours!"

The king took the pill from Cagliostro's extended hand, carried it to
his lips, and slowly swallowed it. Instantly a tremor seized his whole
body, his cheeks turned deathly pale; he tottered and sank back into
the chair which Wöllner had noiselessly rolled forward.

Cagliostro stooped down over him, and regarded the shadows which passed
across and darkened the king's countenance. By degrees these shadows
disappeared. His features brightened, and at last his countenance shone
with joy and happiness, and was radiant with smiles.

"He is in Paradise," said Cagliostro, stepping back from the chair.
"His spirit revels in heavenly delights. An hour will elapse before he
returns from Paradise to this earth, and the remembrance of what he
has seen and enjoyed in this hour will be a sunbeam in his existence
for a long time to come. He will long for a renewal of this bliss, and
you must console him with the promise, that I will either appear to
him in person, or else send him, by a messenger, at the expiration of
each year, one of these wonderful pills, which condenses the delights
of a whole life into one hour, provided he is an humble and obedient
servant, and does the will of the Invisible in all things. His soul is
lost in rapture, and his ear is closed to all earthly sounds!--And now,
my friends, come nearer, and listen to my words."

The two Rosicrucians, Wöllner and Bischofswerder, approached, in
obedience to his command; and when Cagliostro laid his hands on their
shoulders, their countenances beamed with delight.

"Speak to us, sublime master! Your utterances fall on our souls like
heavenly dew. Speak, and command your servants to do your will!"

"You must continue the course marked out for you by the Fathers through
me. You must aid in building up the kingdom of the Church and the
Invisible on this earth. The Invisible Church, and her visible priests
and representatives, shall alone rule on earth in the future, and,
therefore, thrones must be overturned, crowns trodden in the dust,
and the names of the kings and princes of earth uprooted like weeds
and cast in the oven. An era of terror is drawing nigh when the sword
and firebrand will go hand in hand through the land, and rapine and
slaughter be the order of the day. The demons of insurrection and
rebellion are already at work, threatening princes, and greeting the
people with these words of promise: Liberty and Fraternity. We, the
Invisible, the Sacred Fathers of the holy Church, have sent them out
to carry terror to the hearts of princes. The king who has just died
devoted his whole life to the enfranchisement of the spirit of the
people; our chief endeavor must be to fetter this spirit, and restore
the people and their rulers to their former humility and submission.
They must do penance in sackcloth and ashes, and be made aware that the
priests of the holy Church and the pious brothers of the order, can
alone save them, and reduce their rebellious subjects to obedience and
submission. The knife and burning fire are sometimes necessary to heal
wounds and diseases. And these remedies we will apply. The revolution
can be made a mighty and sublime weapon in the hands of the Invisible,
and the bloodiest paths may lead to the greatest good! Alas, that we
should be compelled to tread such paths!"

"Alas! alas!" cried the two Rosicrucians, pale with terror. The
countenance of the slumbering king, however, still wore the same
enraptured expression.

"But," continued Cagliostro, "of these evils, good will come. The
proud flesh shall be cut out with the knife, and the wound burned with
fire, in order that it may heal the more rapidly. The storm of the
revolution will shake the earth. Thrones will tremble, and princes
fall down in the dust. The people will be lashed to fury, like the
waves of the storm-tossed sea. But the holy Church will be the little
vessel that bids the sea be still, and stems the tide of the people's
wrath by leading them back to humility and belief. Anger makes blind,
and in their blindness they can the more readily be fettered. We, the
Invisible Fathers, use the people to terrify the rulers. In all parts
of Europe, the fathers and brothers of our order are preparing this
work of destruction and overthrow, in order that the noble and sublime
may be built up anew out of the débris. Oh, my brothers, perform
diligently your allotted task! In the name of the Invisible Fathers, I
deliver over to you this kingdom and this king! Govern him, and make
him serviceable to the holy order and the holy Church. You shall rule
in Prussia. Build up the good, destroy the evil! But the greatest good
is, belief; the greatest evil, unbelief! Root out the king's unbelief!
You will be justified in using any means, for the end sanctifies the
means; and even that which is in itself vile, becomes a holy weapon
in the hands of the chosen!--And now, my brothers, I bid you a final
adieu; my time has expired, I must go!"

"Oh, master, do not leave us!" cried Bischofswerder. "Stay with us, and
promote our holy ends."

"Stay with us, and assist us in leading the king back to the right
path," exclaimed Wöllner.

"You can accomplish it without my assistance. Your will is strong, and
his resistance will be but feeble! You shall be the kings of Prussia;
you shall reign in the land! But do not forget that as rulers you will
still be servants!"

"That we will never forget! We will ever obey the commands of the
Invisibles, and faithfully execute their will as announced to us by
your sublime lips!"

"Who knows that my lips will never speak to you again," said
Cagliostro, in a sad voice. "I wander through the world on the verge
of an abyss, and the storm and revolution are my companions. From the
murder and bloodshed of the revolution, the Church will blossom afresh.
Remember these words, ye brothers of the cross and of the roses!
Remember them, and farewell forever!"



CHAPTER XI.

THE WILL.


The solemn ceremony was over. The body of the great king had been borne
forth from the apartments in which he had governed Prussia for so many
years; from the house which had been his chief delight on earth,
and which was thenceforth to stand as a monument of his life. But
the deceased king's commands and wishes were disregarded in the very
beginning. And it was made manifest to the world that his successor did
not intend to walk in his footsteps, and did not share his independent
views on religious subjects, and his freedom from all prejudices.
Frederick had caused a burial vault to be built for himself on the
terraces. He desired that his body should find a last resting-place in
the garden which he had made, and near the house in which he had lived
with his friends, and in which he had been so happy!

But his successor considered such a resting-place, in the temple
of Nature, and under the dome erected by the hand of the Almighty,
an unfit abode for the remains of a king. He considered the temple
of brick and mortar erected by the hand of man a far more worthy
receptacle for the dead monarch.

The philosopher of Sans-Souci had not attended church for many years;
and now, as if to proclaim to the world that a revolution had taken
place in Prussia, the king's body was deposited in the church. To the
Garrison Church in Potsdam, where the plain and unadorned coffin of
King Frederick William the First had been placed in the vault under the
altar, the gloomy funeral procession of the dead ruler wended its way
on the evening of the eighteenth of August. His generals and officers,
the magistrate of Potsdam, and the members of his household, followed
the funeral car. But his successor, King Frederick William, and the
princes and princesses, were not present. In solitude, as he had lived,
King Frederick descended into the dark vault in which the coffin of
his father awaited him. In life, they had kept at a distance from each
other; death now brought them together, and their mortal remains lay
side by side in peace and tranquillity. Death reconciles all things; in
his hands even kings are but as the dust of the earth.

On the morning after Frederick's interment, King Frederick William
repaired to Sans-Souci, where the opening and reading of the monarch's
will was to take place. The royal princes, who had not accompanied
the king's body to its last resting-place, were by no means absent on
this momentous occasion, and Princes Henry and Ferdinand, and even the
Princess Amelia, Frederick's sister, who was decrepit from age, and
deformed by the mental and bodily anguish she had undergone, had come
to Sans-Souci to be present at the reading of the will. These three
were standing in an alcove, conversing eagerly, but in an undertone.
Their manner was expressive of resentment and anger, and the glances
which they from time to time cast toward the door through which the
king was expected to enter, were full of hatred and derision.

"Bischofswerder has been made colonel; and Wöllner, privy-councillor,"
murmured Prince Henry, bitterly; "even that abominable fellow, Rietz,
has received a title. But he never thought of his family; for us there
are no favors."

"And how could there be?" rejoined Princess Amelia, in her sharp,
scornful voice. "The favorites stand where the golden shower falls, and
you do not desire that we should do likewise, I hope? I, for my part,
shall certainly decline the honor of standing at Wilhelmine Enke's
side; nor have I any desire to share the royal favor with the king's
new flame, the maid of honor, Von Voss."

"She will soon hold an important position," whispered Prince Ferdinand.
"The king intends to make her his wife."

"Impossible!" exclaimed the hoarse voice of the princess. "That is,
unless our dear nephew first manages to put his legitimate wife out of
the way with the aid of his sorcerers."

"Perhaps he intends to take King Solomon as his model," said Prince
Henry, derisively. "He also was an arch-profligate, although he was
accounted a most holy and worthy king."

"Let him pronounce a Solomon's judgment on himself," screeched the
princess; "let him cut himself in three pieces: one for the queen, a
second for Wilhelmine Enke, and the third for the new favorite."

"The last must, however, be spoken of with the greatest deference,"
whispered Prince Ferdinand. "The king will have it so. The maid of
honor, Von Voss, is exceedingly virtuous, and insists on a marriage.
The king had an interview with the young lady on the day of Frederick's
death; and she then imposed three conditions: She demands that the
queen's consent be first obtained, then a church marriage, and finally
the king's separation from Madame Rietz."

"The queen will not give her consent," said Princess Amelia.

"She has already done so! The Privy-Chamberlain Rietz accomplished this
masterpiece of diplomacy. The king pays his wife's debts, and doubles
her pin-money; and for this consideration she consents to the marriage
of the left hand."[27]

"They are all mercenary creatures, these women," muttered Prince Henry.
"They are like dissembling cats, that are always ready to scratch and
betray their best friends. In this respect a queen is no better than a
beggar-woman! For money, a queen compromises her honor and her rights;
and permits a virtuous mantle to be thrown over vice. But this time it
will be of no avail, since no priest can be found to consummate this
unlawful marriage."

"You are mistaken, my dear brother," said Prince Ferdinand,
smiling. "One has already been found. The king asked advice of his
newly-appointed Privy-Councillor Wöllner. This fellow was formerly
a preacher, as you well know, and is therefore well acquainted with
priestly stratagems. He proved to the king, by historical references,
that such double marriages were possible, and that even Luther had
permitted the landgrave Philip to contract a marriage of this kind.
Moreover, he called the king's attention to the fact, that he was
an ordained preacher himself, and, as such, entitled to exercise
the functions of that calling, and offered to perform the ceremony
himself."

"They are all mercenary creatures, these men," said Princess Amelia,
with a malicious side glance at her brother, Prince Henry.

"I am surprised to hear that, my dear sister," remarked Prince Henry.
"It seems you have changed your opinion of men very materially."

"No," she rejoined, angrily, "no, I have always known that men were
miserable creatures. There were only two exceptions: the one was my
brother Frederick, and the other was the man whom even the great King
Frederick could not keep in fetters--he who broke the heaviest bars
and strongest chains with the strength of his invincible spirit,
and liberated himself in defiance of all kings and jailers. I thank
you, Henry, for reminding me of him! My heart has been envenomed by
mankind, and is old and withered, but it grows warm and young again
when I think of him for whom I suffered so much, and who made of me
the old hag I now am.--But here comes the king, our dear nephew." And
Amelia, whose countenance had been illumined for a moment with a ray
of youth, resumed her spiteful and gloomy look, and hobbled toward her
dear nephew, who was just entering the chamber, followed by Count von
Herzberg and the newly-appointed minister of state, Von Voss. "How
handsome your majesty looks!" cried Princess Amelia, in her hoarse
voice; "how young and handsome! If it were not for the thin hair,
the embonpoint, and the dear wife, one might take your majesty for a
youthful Adonis, going a wooing, and--"

"And who has the misfortune to meet a bad fairy[28] on the road. But it
makes no difference, custom has robbed your evil glance of its terrors,
and we will never cease to love and esteem you. I beg leave to assure
my dear aunt Amelia, as well as my two uncles, that I will always
remain their affectionate and devoted nephew, and that it will afford
me the greatest pleasure to gratify their wishes. However, we will
speak of this hereafter, but now let us consider the grave purpose for
which we have come together. Count von Herzberg, I beg you to conduct
the ambassador of the Duke of Brunswick to our presence."

The king seated himself on the sofa which stood in the middle of the
room. Princess Amelia and the two princes seated themselves in chairs,
in his immediate vicinity. In front of them, and near the window, stood
a table covered with green cloth, and beside it three elegantly carved
chairs. This was Frederick the Great's writing-desk, the desk at which
he had thought and labored so much for the welfare and honor of his
kingdom and subjects.

"Baron von Hardenberg, minister, and extraordinary ambassador of his
highness, the Duke of Brunswick," cried Count Herzberg as he entered
and presented this gentleman to the king. Baron von Hardenberg bowed
with the grace of a courtier and an elegant man of the world, and then
looked up at the king, expectantly, with an air of perfect ease and
composure.

"Speak, Baron von Hardenberg," said the king, with some little
embarrassment, after a short pause. "My uncle, the Duke of Brunswick,
sends you. What message does the baron bring?"

"Sir, I bring, at the command of my gracious master, the duke, the
last will and testament of King Frederick the second, of blessed
memory--with unbroken seals, and in exactly the same condition as when
years ago delivered by his deceased majesty to the duke, and by him
deposited in the state archives at Brunswick, where it has remained
until now."

The baron handed the sealed document to the king, and begged him, and
the princes, and ministers, to examine the seals, to assure themselves
that they had not been tampered with, and requested his majesty to
break them, and open the will, after having satisfied himself of that
fact. After this had been done, and after Herzberg had testified to
Frederick's handwriting, the king returned the document to Baron von
Hardenberg.

"You brought us these last greetings and injunctions of the great king,
and it is therefore but just and proper that you, as the representative
of the duke, should make us acquainted with the contents of the will. I
authorize you to read it aloud. Seat yourself at that table between my
two ministers. And now read."

Count von Hardenberg spread the document out on the table, and
commenced to read in a loud and sonorous voice, as follows:

"Life is but a fleeting transition from birth to death. Man's destiny
is to labor for the welfare of society, of which he is a member, during
this brief period. Since the duty of managing the affairs of state
first devolved upon me, I have endeavored, with all the powers given me
by Nature, to make the state which I had the honor to govern happy and
prosperous. I have caused justice to be administered, I have brought
order and exactitude into the finances, and I have introduced that
discipline into the army, which makes it superior to the other troops
of Europe. After having done my duty to the state, in this manner, it
would be a subject of unceasing self-reproach, if I neglected that
which concerns my family. Therefore, in order to avoid the dissensions
which might arise among the members of my family in regard to the
inheritance, I herewith declare to them this my last will and testament:

"(1.) I willingly, and without regret, return the breath of life which
animates me to beneficent Nature, which honored me with its bestowal,
and this body to the elements of which it is composed. I have lived a
philosopher, and I desire to be buried as such, without pomp, show, or
splendor. I desire neither to be dissected nor embalmed. I desire to
be buried in Sans-Souci, on the terrace and in the vault which I have
had prepared for the reception of my body. In this manner the Prince of
Nassau was laid to rest in a wood near Cleve. Should I die in time of
war, or on a journey, my body must be conveyed to the most convenient
place, and afterwards to Sans-Souci in the winter, and deposited as
above directed.

"(2.) I bequeath to my dear nephew, Frederick William, my successor
to the crown, the kingdom of Prussia, provinces, states, castles,
fortifications, places, munitions, and arsenals, lands which are
mine by right of conquest or inheritance, all the crown jewels which
are in the hands of the queen, my wife, the gold and silver plate in
Berlin, my villas, libraries, collections of medals, picture galleries,
gardens, etc., etc. Moreover, I leave him the state treasure as he may
find it at my death, in trust. It belongs to the state, and must only
be used in defending or assisting the people.

"(3.) If death compels me to leave unpaid some small debts, my nephew
shall pay them. Such is my will.

"(4.) I bequeath to the queen, my wife, the revenue she now draws, with
the addition of ten thousand dollars per annum, two tuns of wine each
year, free wood, and game for her table. Under this condition, the
queen has consented to make my nephew her heir. Moreover, as there is
no suitable dwelling that can be set apart as her residence, I content
myself with mentioning, for form's sake, Stettin as an appropriate
place. At the same time, I request of my nephew that he hold suitable
lodgings in readiness for her in the palace in Berlin, and that he show
a proper consideration for the widow of his uncle, and for a princess
whose virtue is above all reproach.

"(5.) And now, we come to the Allodial estate. I have never been
either miserly or rich, nor have I ever had much to dispose of. I have
considered the state revenues as the ark of the covenant, which none
but consecrated hands might touch. I have never appropriated the public
revenues to my own use. My own expenses have never exceeded the sum
of two hundred thousand dollars; and my administration leaves me in
perfect quietude of conscience, and I do not fear to give the public a
strict account of it.

"(6.) I appoint my nephew Frederick William residuary legatee of my
Allodial estate, after having paid out the following legacies."

After the king, in twenty-four additional clauses, had named a legacy
for all of his relatives, either in money, jewels, or something else,
and after he had determined the pensions for the invalid officers and
soldiers of his army, and for his servants, the testament continued:

"I recommend to my successor that he honor and esteem his blood, in
the persons of his uncles, aunts, and all other relatives. Accident,
which determines the destiny of man, also regulates the succession.
But the one, because he becomes king, is no better than the others.
I, therefore, recommend to all my relatives that they live in a good
understanding with each other; and that they, if it be necessary,
sacrifice their personal interests to the welfare of the fatherland and
the advantage of the state.

"My last wishes when I die will be for the happiness of this kingdom.
May it ever be governed with justice, wisdom, and strength! May it
be the happiest of states, through the mildness of its laws; may its
administration in respect to finance ever be good and just; may it ever
be most gallantly defended by an army that breathes only for honor and
fair renown; and may it last and flourish to the end of all centuries!"

"Amen! amen!" exclaimed the king, folding his hands piously, when Baron
von Hardenberg had concluded. "Amen! The intentions of my great and
exalted uncle shall be carried out in all things! God bless Prussia,
and give me strength to govern it and make it happy! I thank you,
baron, and promise myself the pleasure of a confidential interview with
you to-morrow morning before you take your departure."

His ministers having retired with the ambassador, in compliance with an
intimation from the king that they might do so, Frederick William now
turned with a gracious and genial smile to Princess Amelia and her two
brothers, who, like the king, had arisen from their seats.

"My exalted uncle particularly recommended that I should consider
the welfare of my uncles and aunts," said Frederick. "I assure you,
however, that this recommendation was unnecessary; without it, I would
have been only too happy to contribute to your happiness and welfare,
to the extent of my ability. I beg each of you, therefore, to prefer
some request, the gratification of which will serve as a remembrance of
this solemn occasion.--Speak, Prince Henry; speak, my dear uncle; name
some favor that I can grant."

The prince started, and a glowing color flitted over the countenance
that was an exact copy of the deceased king's. The word "favor," which
Frederick's smiling lips had uttered, pierced the prince's heart like a
poisoned arrow.

"Sire," said he, sharply, "I crave no favor whatever at your hands,
unless it might be considered a favor that my rights be protected,
and justice be shown me, in the matter of my claims to a certain
succession."

"To exercise justice is no favor, but a duty," replied the king,
mildly; "and my dear uncle Henry will certainly be protected in all his
rightful claims."

"In my claims to the succession in the Margraviate Schwedt?" inquired
Prince Henry, hurriedly; and his eyes, which were large, luminous, and
keen, like Frederick's, fastened a piercing glance on his nephew's
countenance.

Frederick William shrugged his shoulders. "That is a political
question, which must be decided in a ministerial council, and not in a
family conference."

"That is to say, in other words," screeched Amelia, with mocking
laughter, "Prince Henry will always belong to the dear family, but
never to the number of the king's ministers and councillors."

The king, actuated perhaps by a desire to turn the conversation, now
addressed Prince Ferdinand: "And you, my dear uncle, have you no
particular wish to impart?"

The prince smiled. "I am not ambitious, and my finances are fortunately
in good order. I recommend myself and family to the king's good-will. I
should be particularly pleased if my oldest son Louis could be honored
with the protection of his royal uncle."

"He shall stand on the same footing with my son," said the king. "I
desire him to be the friend and companion of my son Frederick William;
and I trust that he will infuse some of his spirit and fire into the
latter. The young princes are made to complete each other, and I shall
be glad to see them become close friends.--And now, my dear aunt and
princess," continued the king, as he turned to Amelia, "will you be
kind enough to name your wishes."

The princess shrugged her shoulders. "I am not ambitious, like brother
Henry, and I have no children to care for, like brother Ferdinand. My
own wants are few, and I am not fond enough of mankind to desire to
collect riches in order that I may fill empty pockets and feast those
who are in want. Life has not been a bed of roses for me, why should I
make it pleasant for others? There is but one I desire to make happy;
he, like myself, has lived through long years of misery, and can sing
a mournful song of the hard-heartedness and cruelty of mankind. Sire,
I crave nothing for myself, but I crave a ray of sunshine for him who
was buried in the darkness of a prison, who was robbed of his sun
for so many long years. I crave for an old man the ray of happiness
of which his youth and manhood were wickedly deprived. Sire, in my
opinion, there is but one shadow on the memory of my exalted brother.
This shadow is Frederick Trenck.[29] Let justice prevail. Restore to
Von Trenck the estates of which he was unjustly deprived; restore the
title and military rank of which he was robbed. Sire, do this, and I,
whom misery has made a bad fairy, will hereafter be nothing more than a
good-natured and withered old mummy, who will fold her hands and pray
with her last breath for the good and generous king who made Frederick
von Trenck happy."

"It shall be as my dear aunt desires," said the king, with emotion.
"Frederick von Trenck shall be put in possession of his estates, and
restored to his military and civic honors. We will also invite him to
our court, and he shall not have to fear being again thrown into the
gloomy dungeons of Magdeburg, although Princess Amelia should smile
graciously upon him."

The princess distorted the poor old face, which was so completely
disfigured with scars, in an attempt at a smile, which was only a
grimace; and she was herself unaware that the veil which had suddenly
dimmed her eyes was a tear. For long years she had neither wept nor
smiled, and shed tears to-day for the first time again. For the first
time in many years she thanked God, on retiring, for having been
permitted to see the light of this day. She no longer desired to
die, but prayed that she might live until she had seen Frederick von
Trenck--until she had received his forgiveness for the misery she had
caused him! To-day, for the first time, the embittered mind of the
princess was touched with a feeling of thankfulness and joy. And it
came from the bottom of her heart, when she said to Frederick William,
on taking leave of him after the reading of the will: "I wish I were
not a bad, but rather a good fairy, for I could then give you the
receipt for making your people and yourself happy!"

The king smiled at this. He had that receipt already! He had received
it in the elixir of life which Cagliostro had given him. These
drops were the receipt for his personal happiness; and, as for
making the people happy, Bischofswerder and Wöllner must know the
receipts necessary to effect that object. In their hands the king
will confidently place the helm of state. They are the favorites of
the Invisible Fathers; the chosen, the powerful. And they shall rule
Prussia, they, the Rosicrucians!

This thought filled the king's heart with joy, but it filled the
hearts of the opponents of the pious brotherhood, of the enemies of
Bischofswerder and Wöllner, with dismay and anxiety. And the number of
their enemies was great, and many of them were men of high rank and
standing.

There was also at the court a party which entertained bitter but secret
enmity to the Rosicrucians.



CHAPTER XII.

LEUCHSENRING.


At the head of the opposition party at court stood Franz Michael
Leuchsenring, the prince royal's instructor, Goethe's friend, and a
member of the former Hain association. He had been called to Berlin
by Frederick the Great to assume the position of French tutor to the
future King of Prussia, and impart to him a thorough knowledge of
French literature.

Baron von Hardenberg sought out the tutor, whom he had known and loved
for many years, on the morning after the reading of the will. The
meeting of these long-separated friends was hearty and cordial, and
yet the keen glance of the ambassador did not fail to detect the cloud
which rested on Leuchsenring's countenance. After they had shaken
hands, and exchanged a few questions and remarks relative to each
other's health and circumstances, the baron raised his delicate white
hand and pointed to Leuchsenring's brow.

"I see a shadow there," said he, smiling; "a shadow which I never
before observed on my friend's forehead. Is the handsome Leuchsenring
no longer the favorite of the ladies, and consequently of the muses
also? Or have we again some detestable rival, who dares to contend with
you for a fair maid's favor? I know what that is; I saw you in the rôle
of Orlando Furioso more than once, when we were together in the Elysian
Fields of Naples, where we first met and joined hands in friendship.
My friend, why did we not remain in bella Italia! Why has the prose
of life sobered us down, and made of you the teacher, and of me the
servant of a prince!--But enough of this; and now answer this question:
Who is the rival? Am I to be your second here in Berlin, as I was on
three occasions in Naples?"

Leuchsenring smiled: "I observe, with pleasure, my dear baron, that
your ministerial rank has not changed you. You are still the same
merry, thoughtless cavalier; while I, really, I can no longer deny it,
have become a misanthrope. With me gayety and love are things of the
past; and, unfortunately, women have nothing to do with the shadow
which your keen glance detected."

"And more unfortunately still, you have become a politician," exclaimed
the baron, smiling. "What I have heard is then true; you no longer
write love-letters, but occupy yourself with learned treatises. You
have joined a political party?"

"It is true," said Leuchsenring, emphatically. "I am filled with anger
and hatred when I see these advocates of darkness, that is, these
Rosicrucians, or, in other words, these Jesuits, attempting to cast
their vast tissue of falsehood over mankind. I feel it to be my duty to
tear asunder its meshes and lay bare the toils in which they hoped to
involve mankind."

"Bravo, bravo!" cried Hardenberg. "I am delighted to hear you declare
your views in this manner. I now perceive that you are in earnest.
And I will give you a proof of my confidence by asking your advice in
my personal affairs. King Frederick William has honored me with an
audience, and I have just left his presence. It seems his majesty has
taken a fancy to me; some effeminate feature in my countenance has
found the highest appreciation. To be brief, the king has graciously
proposed to me to enter his service; he offers me a ministerial
position."

"And what reply did you make to this proposition?" asked Leuchsenring,
eagerly.

"I begged some little time for consideration. I was not sufficiently
acquainted with the political phase, and I desired to discuss the
matter with you, my friend, before coming to a decision. And now, give
me your opinion. Shall I accept?"

"First tell me what you are, and then I will reply. Tell me whether
you are a Rosicrucian, that is, a Jesuit, or whether you have remained
a faithful brother of our society? Give me your hand, let me touch it
with the secret sign; and now tell me if you are still a brother."

"I am," said Hardenberg, his jovial face assuming an earnest
expression, and he touched Leuchsenring's extended hand in a peculiar
manner. "The grasp of this hand proclaims to you that I have remained
true to the society; and that I am still a brother of the order and a
zealous freemason."

"Thanks be to God that you are my friend!" cried Leuchsenring. "Then
you are with me, with those who are preparing for the future, and
erecting a barrier in the minds of mankind to the present tide of evil.
And now I will answer your question. Do not accept the offer which
has been made you, but save yourself for the future, for the coming
generation. Gloomy days are in store for Prussia, and the good genius
of the German fatherland must veil its head and weep over the impending
horrors. The demons of darkness are at work in the land. Superstition,
hypocrisy, Jesuitism, and lasciviousness, have combined to fetter
the understanding and the hearts of men. A period of darkness such
as usually precedes the great convulsions and epochs of history will
soon come for Prussia. Believe me, we are standing on a crater. The
royal favorites are covering it with flowers and garlands; the royal
Rosicrucians are administering elixirs and wonder-working potions, to
obscure the eye and shut out the fearful vision. They are, however, not
arresting the progress of the chariot of fate, but are urging it on
in its destructive career. As good springs from evil, so will freedom
spring from slavery. The oppression which rulers have been exercising
on their subjects for centuries, will now bear its avenging fruits. The
slaves will break their fetters, and make freemen of themselves."

"Ah, my friend," exclaimed Hardenberg, shrugging his shoulders; "you
see the realization of unattainable ideals; unfortunately, I cannot
believe in it. Tell me, by what means are these poor, enslaved nations
to break their fetters and make freemen of themselves?"

"I will tell you, and make your soul shudder. The slaves, the
down-trodden nations, will free themselves by the fearful means of
revolution. It already agitates every soul, and throbs in every heart.
The time of peace and tranquillity is at end; the storm no longer rages
in the heads and hearts of poets only, but in every human heart. The
thoughts and songs of the poets have pierced the heart of nations, and
fermented a storm that will soon burst forth; as it sweeps along it
will destroy the old and build up the new. With his 'Robbers,' Schiller
hurled the firebrand into the mind of youth, and princes and rulers
are feeding and nourishing the enkindled flame with the trumpery of
their gold-glittering rags, and their vices. This flame will blaze up
until it becomes a mighty conflagration. The vices of princes are the
scourges chosen by God, to chastise the nations, in order that they
may rise up from the dust, and that slaves may become men! Louis the
Fifteenth of France, with all his crimes and vices, was an instrument
in the hands of the Almighty. And Marie Antoinette, with her love of
pleasure, her frivolity, and her extravagance, is such an instrument,
as is also Frederick William of Prussia, with all his thoughtlessness,
his good-nature, and his indolence. Even this hypocritical generation
of vipers, this lying, deceiving brotherhood, these Rosicrucians and
Jesuits, must serve God's purposes. Falsehood exists only to make truth
manifest; and bondage, only to promote liberty. Therefore I will not
complain, although vice should be triumphant for a while. The greater
the success of evil now, the greater the triumph of good hereafter. The
greater the number of Jesuits who execute their dark deeds now, the
greater the number who will be destroyed."

"They exist only in your imagination, my exalted friend," said
Hardenberg, smiling. "There are not any Jesuits in Prussia."

"They are everywhere," said Leuchsenring, interrupting him, and
grasping his friend's arm in his earnestness. "Yes, there are Jesuits.
They go about with us, they sit with us at table, they grasp our hands
as friends, they flatter us as our admirers, they smile on us in the
persons of the women we love, they leave no means untried to fetter
our hearts and understanding. The Rosicrucians, what are they, one
and all, but disguised Jesuits! They wish to impose Catholicism on
us, and drive out Protestantism. They wish to mystify the mind, and
make the soul grovel in sin and vice, from which condition the victims
around whom they have woven their toils will only be permitted to
escape by flying to the bosom of the Catholic Church. To the bosom of
that Church which offers an asylum to all restless consciences, and
dispenses blessings and forgiveness for all vices and crimes. For this
reason, these Rosicrucians tempt the good-natured, thoughtless king
to luxury and debauchery; for this reason they terrify his mind with
apparitions and ghosts! In his terror he is to seek and find safety in
the Catholic Church! I see through their disguise; and they know it.
For this reason, they hate me; and they cry out against me because I
have exposed their wiles and stratagems, and proclaimed that these vile
Rosicrucians are Jesuits in disguise, whose object is the expansion
of Catholicism over the earth. This I proclaimed in a treatise, which
aroused the sleeping, and convinced the doubting, and excited the wrath
of the Rosicrucians against me."

"I have heard of it," said Hardenberg, thoughtfully. "I heard of your
having hurled a defiant article at the secret societies, through the
medium of the 'Berlin Monthly Magazine;'[30] but, unfortunately, I could
never obtain a copy."

"That I can readily believe," said Leuchsenring, laughing; "the dear
Rosicrucians bought up the whole edition of the monthly magazine.
When the new one is published, they will buy that up, too, in order
to suppress the truth. But they will not succeed. Truth is mighty,
and will prevail; and we freemasons and brothers of the order of the
Illuminati, will help to make truth victorious. We freemasons are the
champions of freedom and enlightenment. Many of the most influential
and distinguished men of Berlin have joined our order, and are battling
with us against the advocates of darkness and ignorance--against the
Jesuits and Rosicrucians. We call ourselves Illuminati, because we
intend to illumine the darkness of the Rosicrucians, and manifest
truth, in annihilating falsehood! My friend, the struggle for which
we are preparing will be a hard one, for the number of Rosicrucians
and Jesuits is vast, and a king is their protector. The number of the
Illuminati is comparatively small; and only the kings of intellect and
science, not, however, of power and wealth, belong to our brotherhood.
But we shall overthrow the Jesuits, nevertheless. We stand on the
watch-tower of Prussia, and our Protestant watchword is Luther's word,
'The Word they shall not touch.'"

"Well said, my gallant friend," cried Hardenberg. "Your ardor inspires
me, your enthusiasm is contagious. I will take part in this great and
noble struggle. Admit me into your order!"

"You shall become one of us! A meeting of our brotherhood takes place
this evening at the house of our chieftain Nicolai. You must accompany
me, and I will see that you are admitted."

"And then, when I have become a member of your order, and am enrolled
among the number of the enemies of the Jesuits and Rosicrucians,
you will no doubt consider it advisable for me to accept the king's
proposition?"

"No, my friend, I cannot approve of it; I cannot advise you to do so."

"How? You do not desire me to remain and fight at your side? You
despise my assistance?"

"I do not despise your assistance; I only wish to spare you for better
times. I have a high opinion of your capacities, and it would be a pity
if your usefulness should be prematurely destroyed. But this would be
the case if you remained here at present. The Rosicrucians are not only
mighty, but are also cunning. They would soon recognize an enemy in
the Minister of State, and would not be slow in relieving him of his
office and power. They would pursue the same course with you that they
have pursued with me."

"What course have they pursued with you? In what can the instructor of
the prince royal have offended--the instructor appointed by Frederick
the Great? What harm can the Rosicrucians do him?"

Leuchsenring took up an open letter which lay on the writing-desk, and
smiled as he handed it to Hardenberg. "Read this," said he, "it will
answer your question."

Hardenberg glanced quickly over the few lines which the letter
contained, and then let it fall on the table again with an air of
dejection.

"Dismissed!" he murmured. "The body of the late king is hardly under
ground, and they already dare to disregard his will, and send you your
dismissal."

"They go further," said Leuchsenring, angrily. "They not only dismiss
me, but what is still worse, they have appointed a Rosicrucian to
fill my position. General Count Brühl has been selected to give the
finishing touch to the education of the young prince."

"And you will now leave Berlin, I suppose?" said Hardenberg. "Well,
then, my friend, I make you a proposition. You do not desire me to
remain here; I now propose to you to accompany me to Brunswick. Save
yourself and your ability for better times, save yourself for the
future!"

"No, I will remain," cried Leuchsenring, with determination. "I will
not afford the Rosicrucians the pleasure of seeing me desert my post;
I will defend it to the last drop of my blood. I will remain, and
the Jesuits and Rosicrucians shall ever find in me a watchful and
relentless enemy. All those brave men to whom God has given the sword
of intellect, will battle at my side. The Rosicrucians will bring gloom
and darkness over Prussia, but we, the Illuminati, will dissipate
this darkness. The vicious and the weak belong to the former, but
the virtuous and strong, and the youth of the nation, will join the
ranks of the Illuminati. Oh, my friend, this will be a spirit-warfare,
protracted beyond death, like the struggles of the grim Huns. The
spirits of falsehood must, however, eventually succumb to the heavenly
might of truth; and darkness must, at last, yield to light! This is
my hope, this is my banner of faith; and therefore do I remain here
in defiance of my enemies, the Rosicrucians. This struggle, this
spirit-warfare, is my delight--it excites, elevates, and refreshes me.
But when the victory is ours, when the new era begins, when the old
has been torn down, and the new Prussia is to be built up, then your
time will come, my friend; you shall be the architect selected to erect
this stately edifice. For the dark days of the Rosicrucians and King
Frederick William, your services are not available. But after these
will come the bright days of the young king, and at his side you shall
stand as friend and councillor! For, believe me, King Frederick William
the Second will only pass over the horizon of Prussia, and darken the
existence of the people, like a storm-cloud, with its thunder and
lightning. But cloud and darkness will be dissipated, and after this,
day will dawn again, and the sun will once more shine. You have come to
Berlin to see Prussia's unhappiness, but you shall now see something
else. I will show you Prussia's hope, and Prussia's future!--Come!"

He took his friend's arm and led him to the window, which commanded a
fine view of the adjoining garden. It was only a plain garden, with
walks of yellow sand, and beds of ordinary flowers. A bench stood
under an apple-tree, covered with fruit, on the main walk, and between
two flower-beds. On this bench, two boys, or rather two youths, were
sitting, attired in plain, civil dress. The one was very handsome, and
well-made; his large, bright eyes were turned upward, the loud tones
of his voice could be heard at the window, and his animated gestures
seemed to indicate that he was reciting some poem, and was carried away
with enthusiasm. The other, a tall youth of sixteen, with the soft,
blue eyes, the mild countenance, and good-natured expression, was
listening attentively to his companion's declamation.

It was the latter whom Leuchsenring pointed out to his friend. "See,"
said he, "that is the future King of Prussia, King Frederick William
the Third, that is to be. At his side you are to stand as councillor;
and he will need your advice and assistance. He will reap the bitter
harvest which will spring from the seed the Jesuits and Rosicrucians
are now sowing. Save yourself for Frederick William the Third,
Baron Hardenberg, and do not waste your talents and energies in the
unfruitful service of Frederick William the Second."

"The one you point out, the one with the fair hair, and the mild,
diffident expression, is then the Prince Royal of Prussia. I wish you
had shown me the other, that handsome lad, that youthful Apollo, with
the proud smile and piercing eye. I wish he were the future King of
Prussia."

"That is Prince Louis, the present king's nephew. You are right, he
looks like a youthful Apollo. If he were the future king, he would
either lift Prussia up to the skies, or else hurl it into an abyss,
for he is a genius, and he will not tread the beaten track of life.
No, it is better that his gentle young friend should some day wear the
crown of Prussia. They have increased his natural timidity by severe
treatment. He has no confidence in himself, but he has good, strong
sense and an honest heart, and these qualities are of more importance
for a king than genius and enthusiasm. I do not know why it is, my
friend, but I love this poor, reserved boy, who has suffered and
endured so much in his youth. I love this prince, who has so warm a
heart, but can never find words to express his feelings. I pity him,
for I know that his youthful heart is burdened with a secret sorrow.
I have divined the cause, in an occasional word which escapes his
lips unawares, and in his manner at times. It is the sorrow of an
affectionate and tender-hearted son, who wishes to love and esteem his
father, but dares not look at him, for fear of seeing the spots and
shadows which darken that father's countenance."

"Poor, poor lad!" said Hardenberg, moved with sympathy. "So young, and
yet such bitter experience! But, perhaps, it is well that such should
be the case; if he has received the baptism of tears, and has been
anointed with affliction, he may become a king by the grace of God! I
will do as you say, Leuchsenring; I will save myself for the future,
and, if such be the will of God, I will one day serve your young king
of the future."

"And something tells me that God will permit you to do so," cried
Leuchsenring, joyously. "It may be that I will not live to see the day.
My enemies, the Rosicrucians, may have destroyed, or the storm-wind of
the revolution have swept me away by that time; but you will remain,
and at some future day you will remember the hour in which I showed you
the young prince royal, Frederick William the Third. He is the future
of Prussia, and, in the dark day which is now dawning, we are in sore
need of a guiding light. Fix your eye on the Prince Royal of Prussia,
and on his genial friend, Prince Louis Ferdinand!"



BOOK III.



CHAPTER I.

SCHILLER IN DRESDEN.


"That is false, I say; false!" cried Schiller, with glowing cheeks and
sparkling eyes, as he walked to and fro in his little room. "It is all
slander, vile slander!"

The two friends, the young councillor of the consistory, Körner, and
the bookseller, Göschen, stood together in the window recess, gazing
sadly and sympathetically at the poet, who rushed to and fro, almost
breathless with rage, hurling an angry glance at his friends, whenever
he approached them.

Suddenly he stopped, and fastened his gaze on them, intently. "Why
do you not reply?" asked he, in loud and wrathful tones. "Why do you
allow me to accuse you both of a falsehood, without even attempting to
justify yourselves?"

"Because we wish to give your just anger time to expend itself," said
Körner, in his soft, mild voice. "To our own great sorrow we have been
compelled to wound our friend's feelings, and it is quite natural that
this wound should smart."

"And we do not justify ourselves against these reproaches, because they
do not apply to us," added Göschen, "and because they are only the
utterance of your just indignation. Believe me, my friend, we would
gladly have spared you this hour, but our friendship was greater than
our pity."

"Yes, yes, the old story," cried Schiller, with mocking laughter.
"Out of friendship, you are pitiless; out of friendship you give the
death-blow to my heart! And what the most cruel enemy would hardly have
the courage to whisper in my ear, merciful friendship boldly declares!"

[Illustration: SCHILLER.]

"Schiller, you are deceived! Schiller, the girl you love is a
cold-hearted coquette, who does not love you, who only keeps you in
leading-strings, in order to extort presents from you, and to be able
to say that a poet adores her!"

"But I will give no credit to such unworthy insinuations! My love shall
not be regarded as a mere mockery. You shall not have the pitiful
triumph of tearing me from the girl I love. I declare to you and the
whole world, I love her, I love the beautiful, the admired, the courted
Marie von Arnim. To her belong my thoughts, my wishes, and my hopes.
She is my ideal of beauty, of youth, and of female loveliness. I exult
in this love; it will raise me from the dust of earth to the sphere of
the eternal and immortal gods!"

"My poor friend!" sighed Körner, "like your love, the gods only exist
in your poetical fancy. Listen to reason, Schiller!"

"Reason!" cried he, stamping the floor, wrathfully. "That means the dry
insipidity of every-day life, instead of life's festival, wreathed with
flowers. No, I will not listen to reason; for you call it reason to
consider it possible that the most divine creature on earth could be a
base coquette!"

"Now you go too far, Schiller," said Göschen, eagerly, "no one made
such grave accusations against the daughter. We only said of the mother
that she misused your love for her daughter, and that she would never
consent to your union. We said that the beautiful young lady was aware
of this, and continued to receive your attentions, although she knew
the gentleman selected by her mother as her future husband, and would
finally consent to marry him. As friends, we conceived it to be our
duty to tell you this, in order that you might no longer be deceived
in your noblest impulses, and continue to throw away your love, your
confidence, and your money, on unworthy objects."

"That is the word," cried Schiller, with mocking laughter, "now you
have uttered the right word! My money, or rather _your_ money, you
would say! You tremble for your vile dross! You made me advances,
and Don Carlos is not yet completed. You now fear that my love might
distract my attention, and draw me from my work, and that the two
hundred dollars which--"

"Frederick Schiller!" cried Körner, interrupting him, while Göschen
turned away, his lips trembling, and his eyes filled with tears;
"Frederick Schiller, now you are unjust; and that, a friend must not
be, even in his deepest grief. Vile dross has nothing to do with this
sacrifice of friendship, and it was not for its sake that we undertook
the thankless office of making the blind see. You well know that
Göschen is a noble and disinterested friend, who rejoiced in being
permitted to help the poet of Don Carlos out of his difficulties, but
it is, of course, painful to him to see the loving, confiding man,
squander what the poet earns."

"It is true, it is true!" cried Schiller, "I am unjust! I reproach you
instead of reproaching myself, and myself only. Oh, my friends, forgive
these utterances of my anguish, consider what I endure! You are both
so happy; you have all that can lend a charm to life, and adorn it.
You are wealthy, you do not know what it is to have to contend with
want, and to struggle for existence, nor have you any knowledge of
that more painful struggle, the warfare of life without love, without
some being who loves you, and is wholly yours. You, my friends, have
loved and loving wives, who are yours with every fibre of their being.
You have also well-appointed households, and are provided with all
that is requisite to enable you to exercise a generous hospitality.
But, look at me, the solitary, homeless beggar, who calls nothing on
earth his own but that spark of enthusiasm which burns in his heart,
who must flee to the ideal, in order to escape the too rude grasp of
reality. Why must I alone rise from the richly-laden table of life with
unsatisfied hunger? Why are the stars, for me, merely candles of the
night, that give me light in my labors, and the sun only an economical
heating apparatus, to which I am only in so far indebted as it saves
me expensive fuel for my stove in winter. Grant me my portion of
the repast which the gods have prepared for all mortals, let me also
partake of the golden Hesperian fruit. My friends, have pity on the
poor wanderer, who has been journeying through the desert of life, and
would now recline on the green oasis and rest his weary limbs!" He sank
down into a chair, and covered his quivering face with his trembling
hands.

His two friends stood at his side regarding him sorrowfully. Neither of
them had the cruel courage to break in upon this paroxysm of anguish
with a word of encouragement or consolation.

A pause ensued, in which the silence was interrupted only by Schiller's
deep-drawn sighs, and the few indistinct words, which he from time to
time murmured to himself. But suddenly he arose, and when he withdrew
his hands from his face its expression was completely changed. His
countenance was no longer quivering with pain and flushed with anger,
but was pale, and his glance defiant. And when he now shook back the
long yellow hair which shaded his brow, with a quick movement of the
head, he looked like a lion shaking his mane, and preparing to do
battle with an approaching enemy.

"Enough of these lamentations and womanish complaints," said he, in
a resolute, hoarse voice. "I will be a man who has the courage to
listen to the worst and defy the greatest agony. Repeat all that you
have said. I will not interrupt you again, either with complaints or
reproaches. I know that you are actuated by the kindest intentions,
and that, like the good surgeon, you only desire to apply the knife
and fire to my wounded heart in order to heal it. And now, speak, my
friends! Repeat what you have said!"

He walked hastily across the room to the little window, stood there
with his back turned to the room, and beat the window-panes impatiently
with his cold hands.

"Frederick, why repeat what is already burning in your head and heart?"
said Körner, gently. "Why turn the knife once more in the wound,
and tell you that your noble, generous love is not appreciated, not
honored? The best and fairest princess of the world would have reason
to consider herself happy and blessed, if the poet by the grace of
God loved her; and yet his noble, generous love is misused by a cold,
calculating woman, and made the means of adorning its object for richer
suitors."

"Proofs!" cried Schiller, imperiously, and he drummed away at the
window-panes till they fairly rang.

"It is difficult for others to give proofs in such cases," replied
Körner, in a low voice. "You cannot prove to the man who is walking
onward with closed eyes, that he is on the verge of a precipice; you
can only warn him and entreat him to open his eyes, that he may see the
danger which menaces. We have only considered it our duty to repeat
to you what is known by all Dresden, and what all your acquaintances
and friends say: that this Madame von Arnim has come to Dresden to
seek a husband of rank and fortune for her daughter, and that she only
encourages Frederick Schiller's attentions, because the poet's homage
makes the beautiful young lady appear all the more desirable in the
eyes of her other suitors."

"An infernal speculation, truly!" said Schiller, with derisive
laughter. "But where are the proofs? Until they are furnished, I must
be permitted to doubt. I attach no importance whatever to the tattle
of the good city of Dresden; to the malicious suppositions and remarks
of persons with whom I am but slightly acquainted, I am also quite
indifferent. But who are the _friends_ who believe in this fable, and
who have commissioned you to relate it to me? At least, give me the
name of one of them."

"I will at least give you the name of a lady friend," said Göschen,
sadly; "her name is Sophie Albrecht, my wife's sister."

Schiller turned hastily to his friends, and his countenance now wore an
alarmed expression.

"Sophie Albrecht!" said he, "the sensitive artist--she in whose house
I first saw Marie. Is it possible that she can have uttered so unworthy
a suspicion?"

"She it was who charged me to warn you," replied Göschen, with a sigh.
"For this very reason, that you first met Madame von Arnim and her
daughter in her house, does she consider it her duty to warn you and
show you the abyss at your feet. At this first interview, she noticed
with alarm how deep an impression the rare beauty of Miss von Arnim
made on you, and how you afterwards ran blindly into the net which
the old spider, the speculative mother, had set for you. This Madame
von Arnim is the widow of a Saxon officer, who left her nothing but
his name and his debts. She lives on a small pension given her by the
king, and has, it seems, obtained a few thousand dollars from some rich
relative; with this sum she has come to Dresden, where she proposes to
carry out her speculation--that is, to keep house here for some little
time, and to entertain society, and, above all, rich young cavaliers,
among whom she hopes to find an eligible suitor for her daughter. This
at least is no calumny, but Madame von Arnim very naively admitted as
much to my sister-in-law, Sophie Albrecht, calling her attention to the
droll circumstance, that the first candidate who presented himself was
no other than a poor poet, who could offer her daughter neither rank,
title, nor fortune. When Sophie reminded her that Frederick Schiller
could give her daughter the high rank and title of a poet, and adorn
her brow with the diamond crown of immortal renown, the sagacious lady
shrugged her shoulders, and remarked that a crown of real diamonds
would be far more acceptable, and that she had far rather see her
daughter crowned with the coronet of a countess than with the most
radiant poet's crown conceivable. And she already had the prospect of
obtaining such a one for her daughter; the poet's admiration for her
beautiful daughter had already made her quite a celebrity."

"You are still speaking of the mother, and of the mother only,"
murmured Schiller. "I know that this woman is sordid, and that she
would, at any time, sell her daughter for wealth and rank, although
purchased with her child's happiness. But what do I care for the
mother! Speak to me of the daughter, for she it is whom I love--she is
my hope, my future."

"My poor friend," sighed Körner, as he stepped forward and laid his
hand on Schiller's shoulder. This touch and these words of sympathy
startled Schiller.

"Do not lament over me, but make your accusations," cried Schiller,
and he shook his golden lion's mane angrily. "Speak, what charges can
you prefer against Marie von Arnim? But I already know what your reply
would be. You would say that she has been infected by the pitiful
worldly wisdom of her scheming mother, and that I am nothing more to
her than the ornament with which she adorns herself for another suitor."

"You have said so, Frederick Schiller, and it is so," replied Körner,
in a low voice. "Yes, the worldly-wise and scheming mother has achieved
the victory over her nobler daughter, and, although her heart may
suffer, she will nevertheless follow the teachings of her mother, and
make a speculation of your love."

"That is not true, that is calumny!" cried Schiller, violently. "No,
no, I do not believe you! Say what you please of the mother, but do not
defile her innocent daughter with such vile, unsubstantiated calumny!"

"What proofs do you demand?" asked Göschen, shrugging his shoulders. "I
repeated to you what Madam von Arnim told Sophie Albrecht, namely, that
a rich suitor had already been found for her daughter."

"Yes, that the mother had found one. But who told you that the daughter
would accept him; that Marie was a party to this disgraceful intrigue?"

"Of that you can certainly best assure yourself," said Körner, slowly.

"How can I do that?" asked Schiller, shuddering slightly.

"Does not Miss Marie permit you to visit her in the evening?"

"Yes, she does."

"Only when you see a light at the window of her chamber--the signal
agreed upon between you--only then you are not permitted to come. Is it
not so?"

"Yes, it is so, and that you may well know, as I told you of it myself.
When Marie places a light at that window it is a sign that begs me not
to come, because then only the intimate family circle is assembled, to
which I certainly do not as yet belong."

"You can, perhaps, assure yourself whether the young lady was strictly
accurate in her statement. You intend paying her a visit this evening,
do you not?"

"Yes, I do," cried Schiller, joyfully, "and I will fall down on my
knees before her, and mentally beg her pardon for the unjust suspicions
which have been uttered concerning her."

"I do not believe that she will receive you to-day," said Körner, in a
low voice. "This so-called family circle will have assembled again; in
all probability you will see a light in the designated window!"

"Why do you believe that?"

"Well, because I happened to converse with several young officers
to-day, who are invited to Madam von Arnim's for this evening. They
asked if they might not, at last, hope to meet you there, regretting,
as Madam von Arnim had told them, that your bashfulness and misanthropy
made it impossible for you to appear in strange society. I denied this,
of course, and assured them that Madam von Arnim had only been jesting;
but they said her daughter had also often told them that Frederick
Schiller was very diffident, and always avoided the larger social
gatherings. 'If that were not the case,' said these young gentlemen,
'Schiller would certainly appear at Madam von Arnim's the dansante this
evening, that is, unless the feelings awakened in his bosom by the
presence of Count Kunheim might be of too disagreeable a nature.'"

Schiller shuddered, and a dark cloud gathered on his brow. "Who is this
Count Kunheim?"

"I asked them this question also, and the young officers replied
that Count Kunheim was the wealthy owner of a large landed estate in
Prussia, who had intended remaining a few days in Dresden in passing
through the city on his way to the baths of Teplitz. He had, however,
made the acquaintance of Miss von Arnim at a party, and had been so
captivated by her grace and beauty that he had now sojourned here for
weeks, and was a daily visitor at Madam von Arnim's house."

"And she never even mentioned his name," murmured Schiller, with
trembling lips, the cold perspiration standing on his forehead in great
drops.

"No, she told you nothing about him," repeated Körner. "And this
evening Count Kunheim will be with her again, while the little taper
will burn for you at the window, announcing that the impenetrable
family circle has once more closed around the fair maid and her mother."

"If that were true--oh, my God, if that were true!" cried Schiller,
looking wildly around him, his breast heaving with agitation. "If this
beautiful, this divine being could really have the cruel courage to--"

He had not the courage to pronounce the bitter word which made his soul
shudder, but covered his face with his hands, and stood immovable for
a long time, wrestling with his grief and anguish. His two friends did
not disturb him with any attempts at consolation. They understood the
poet well; they knew that his heart was firm, although easily moved.
They knew that after Frederick Schiller had wept and lamented like a
child, he would once more be the strong, courageous man, ready to look
sorrow boldly in the face. And now but a short time elapsed before the
manly breast had regained sufficient strength to bear the burden of its
grief. Schiller withdrew his hands from his face, threw his head back
proudly, and shook his golden mane.

"You are right, all doubt must be removed," said he; "I will see if the
light has been placed at the window!"

He looked at his large silver watch--a present from his father.
Its old-fashioned form, and the plain hair-guard with which it was
provided, instead of a gold chain, made it any thing but an appropriate
ornament for a suitor of Marie von Arnim. "It is eight o'clock," said
he--"that is, the hour of reprieve or of execution has come. Go, my
friends, I will dress myself, and then--"

"But will you not permit us to accompany you to the house?" asked
Körner. "Will you not permit your friends to remain at your side, to
console you when the sad conviction dawns on your mind, or to witness
your triumph, if it appears (what I sincerely hope may be the case)
that we have been misinformed?"

Schiller shook his head. "No," said he, solemnly, "there are great
moments in which man can only subdue the demons when he is entirely
alone, and battles against them with his own strength of soul. For me,
such a moment is at hand; pray leave me, my friends!"



CHAPTER II.

GILDED POVERTY.


The chandelier in the large reception-room had been already lighted;
and in the adjoining room, the door of which was thrown open, the
servant hired for the occasion was occupied in lighting the candles
in the plated candlesticks, while at a side table a second servant
was busily engaged in arranging the cups and saucers, and providing
each with a spoon; but he now discontinued his work, and turned to
the elderly lady, who stood at his side, and was endeavoring to cut a
moderately-sized cake into the thinnest possible slices.

"My lady," said the servant, humbly, "ten spoons are still wanting.
Will you be kind enough to give them to me?"

"Ah, it is true," replied the lady, "I have only given you the dozen we
have in daily use, and must fetch the others from the closet. You shall
have them directly."

"My lady," remarked the first servant, "there are not candles enough.
Each of the branched candlesticks requires six candles, and I have only
six in all."

"Then you will have to double the number by cutting them in two,"
rejoined her ladyship, who was counting the slices of cake, to see if
she had not already cut a sufficient number.

"Thirty-three," she murmured, letting her finger rest on the last
slice. "That ought to be enough. There will be twenty persons, and many
of them will not take cake a second time. A good piece will be left
for to-morrow, and we can invite Schiller to breakfast with us on the
remainder."

At this moment, a red-faced maid, whose attire was far from being tidy,
appeared at a side door.

"My lady," said she, "I have just been to the grocer's to get the
butter and sugar, but he would not let me have any."

"He wouldn't let you have any?" repeated Madame von Arnim. "What do you
mean?"

"My lady," continued the cook, in a whispering voice, and with downcast
eyes, "the grocer said he would furnish nothing more until you paid his
bill."

"He is an insolent fellow, from whom you must buy nothing more,
Lisette," cried Madame von Arnim, very angrily. "I will pay this
impertinent fellow to-morrow morning, when I have had my money changed,
but my custom I withdraw from him forever. I wish you to understand,
Lisette, in the future you are to buy nothing whatever from this man.
Go to the new grocer on the corner of Market Square, give him my
compliments, and tell him that I have heard his wares so highly praised
that I intend to give him my patronage. He is to keep an account of all
I purchase, and I will settle with him at the end of each month."

"My lady," said the cook, "as I have to go out again, anyhow, wouldn't
it be better for me to run over to the game dealers, in Wilsdruffer
Street, and buy another turkey? One will certainly not be enough, my
lady."

"But, Lisette," rejoined her ladyship, angrily, "what nonsense is this?
When we talked over the supper together you said yourself that one
turkey would be quite sufficient."

"Yes, my lady, but you then said that only twelve persons were to be
invited, and now there are twenty!"

"That makes no difference, whatever, Lisette! What will well satisfy
twelve, will satisfy twenty; moreover, it is not necessary that
they should be exactly satisfied. I was invited to a supper, a few
evenings since, where they had nothing but a roast turkey, and a pie
afterwards. There were twenty-two persons, and although each plate was
provided with a respectable piece of the roast, I distinctly observed
that half of the turkey was left over. Go, therefore, and get the
butter and sugar, but one turkey is entirely sufficient.--Every thing
depends, however, on the carving," continued her ladyship, when the
cook had taken her departure, "and I charge you, Leonhard, to make the
carving-knife very sharp, and to cut the slices as thin and delicate as
possible. Nothing is more vulgar than to serve up great thick pieces of
meat. It makes it look as if one was not in good society, but in some
restaurant where people go to eat all they desire."

"My lady knows what my performances are in that line," said the elder
servant, simpering; "my lady has tried me before. Without boasting, I
can make the impossible, possible. For instance, I carved yesterday,
at Countess von Versen's, for a company of twenty-four people, and as
a roast, a single hare, but I cut it into pieces that gladdened the
heart. I divided the back into as many pieces as there were joints.
Eighteen joints made eighteen pieces, I divided the quarters into
twenty pieces, making in all thirty-eight, and so much still remained
that my lady, the countess, afterward remarked that she would perhaps
have another little party this evening, and gave me two groschens extra
for my services."

"Carve the turkey so that half of it shall remain," said her ladyship,
with dignity, "and I will also give you two groschens extra."

The servant smiled faintly and bowed in acknowledgment of this
magnanimous offer. He then turned to the table at which the young
servant was occupied in folding up the napkins into graceful figures.
"Here are three bottles of white wine, my lady," said Leonhard,
thoughtfully. "I very much fear that it will not go round twice, even
if I fill the glasses only half full."

"Unfortunately I have no further supply of this variety," said her
ladyship, with dignity, "it will therefore be better to take a lighter
wine, of which I have several varieties in my pantry. I will take these
three bottles back and bring you others." With a bold grasp she seized
them and vanished through the side door.

"Do you know what her ladyship is now doing?" asked the experienced
servant, Leonhard, his mouth expanded into a broad grin, as he danced
through the room in his pumps, and placed the chairs in position.

"She has gone after a lighter wine," replied the younger and
inexperienced, who, with commendable zeal, was at this moment
transforming the peak of a napkin into a swan's neck.

"After a lighter wine," repeated Leonhard, derisively. "That is, she is
on her way to the pantry with her three bottles of wine, a pitcher of
water, a funnel, and an empty bottle. When she enters the pantry she
will lock the door, and when she opens the door and marches forth, she
will have four full bottles instead of three, and only the pitcher will
be empty."

The other servant looked up in dismay, heedless of the fact that
his swan's neck was collapsing into an ordinary napkin again. "Mr.
Leonhard, do you mean to say that her ladyship is diluting the wine
with water?"

"Young man, that is not called diluting, but simply 'baptizing,' and,
indeed, it is very appropriate that, in Christian society, where every
body has been baptized, the wine should also receive baptism. Bear this
in mind, my successor."

"Your successor? How so, your successor?" asked the other, eagerly, as
he pushed a piece of bread under a napkin, which he had just converted
into a melon. "Do you propose to retire to private life, and resign
your custom to me, Mr. Leonhard?"

"Such custom as this, willingly," growled Leonhard, "that is, when I
have received my money--when her ladyship pays the last penny she owes
me!"

"Then she has not paid you for your services?" said the younger, in a
faint voice.

"She has been in my debt since I first served her; she owes me for four
dinners and eight soirées. She promised to pay each time, and has never
kept her word; and I would certainly have discontinued coming, long
ago, if I had not known that my money would then certainly be lost. As
it is, I now and then receive a paltry instalment of a few groschens.
To-day," he continued, "she went so far as to promise me two groschens
extra. Promised! yes, but will she keep her word? And it is very
evident to me what the end of all this is to be. Her ladyship wishes to
be rid of me; and I am to be set aside, little by little, and by you,
my friend. To-day, we are to wait on the table together; but the next
time she drums a company of matrimonial candidates together, you alone
will be summoned. Therefore, I call you my successor. I hope you will
profit by my example. It is a fearful thing to say, but nevertheless
true, I stand before you as a living example of how her ladyship cheats
a noble servant out of his well-earned wages. But patience, patience! I
will not leave this field of my renown without having at least avenged
myself! I intend to beg her ladyship to pay me; and if she refuses to
do so, I will exercise vengeance, twofold, fearful vengeance. Before
the company assembles, I will be so awkward as to fall down and break
the four bottles of baptized wine--before the company is assembled,
because if I did it afterwards, the guests would hear the crash, and
know that she had had wine; but if I do it beforehand, nobody will
believe that I broke the bottles."

"That is a splendid idea," observed the younger servant, grinning. "I
will bear this in mind, and follow your example."

"I told you I was a living example, my successor," said Leonhard,
impressively. "You can learn of me how to suffer, and how to avenge
your wrongs."

"But you spoke of twofold vengeance. In what will your second act of
vengeance consist?"

"The second act of vengeance will be this: in spite of the
promised--mark the words of your unfortunate living example--in spite
of the promised two groschens, I will not cut the unhappy turkey
(which, to judge by the length of her spurs, must have been torn from
her family as an aged grandmother) into little, transparent slices,
leaving half of it for the next day; but I will cut the whole turkey
into pieces, and such great thick pieces, that it will not go round
once, and nothing but the neck and drumsticks will be left when her
ladyship's turn comes. Bear this in mind for the future, my successor!
I am now going to her ladyship with a flag of truce before the battle.
If she rejects the conditions on which I consent to make peace, the
result will be made known to you by its crashing consequences. I am
now going, my successor; and I repeat it, for the last time, I am your
living example!"

Gravely nodding his well-dressed and powdered head, the servant glided
through the room on his inaudible dancing-shoes, and vanished through
the side door, which opened into a small room, connected with the
kitchen by a passage. Her ladyship was neither in this room nor in the
kitchen, but, as Leonhard had prophesied, had repaired to the pantry
and locked herself in. The living example smiled triumphantly, and
knocked gently at the door.

"What is it?" asked her ladyship from within. "Who knocks?"

"Only Leonhard, my lady, who has come after the four bottles of wine."

"You shall have them directly," replied his mistress; and Leonhard,
whose ear was applied to the keyhole, heard for a moment a sound as of
water gurgling through a funnel. Then all was still, and he hurriedly
withdrew from the keyhole.

The door was now opened, and Madame von Arnim looked out. "Come in and
take the wine; there it stands."

Leonhard danced up the two steps and into the pantry, and laid hold of
the bottles, two in each hand.

"And now, my lady," said he, bowing profoundly, and waving his arms
slowly to and fro with the bottles, like a juggler who first throws
himself into the proper position before beginning his performances;
"and now, my lady, I beg that you will graciously accord your humble
servant a few moments' conversation."

Her ladyship inclined her head haughtily. "Speak, Leonhard, but be
brief; my company will soon arrive."

The younger servant was still at work preparing for the supper; and,
while so engaged, was at the same time reflecting on the dangers and
uncertainties of life, and particularly on those attending a career so
open to the caprices of fortune as that of a valet de place. Suddenly
the silence was broken by a loud crash; and the servant rushed to the
side door to listen. He could now distinctly hear the angry, scolding
voice of her ladyship, and the humble, apologetic murmurs of the
cunning Leonhard.

"Yes," said the younger servant, grinning with delight, "he has broken
the four bottles of wine! Consequently," he quickly added, his voice
subdued to a low murmur, "her ladyship has not paid him, and will
probably not pay me either! That is sad, for I bought a pair of new
cotton gloves especially for this occasion," said he, surveying his
hands.

No, her ladyship had not paid Leonhard; as usual, she had endeavored to
console him with promises for the future, and the servant had taken
his revenge. With unspeakable satisfaction, he was now engaged in
picking up the fragments of glass which covered the floor, perfectly
indifferent to the volleys of wrath which her ladyship thundered down
upon him from the threshold of the pantry.

"What am I to do now? what can I do?" asked his mistress, finally. "To
give a supper without wine is impossible!"

Having cleared the wreck away, Leonhard now arose.

"My lady," said he, with an air of profound deference, "I deeply regret
this unfortunate occurrence, and I humbly beg you to deduct the value
of these four bottles of wine when you pay me my wages for the four
dinners and eight soirées, not including to-day's!"

"That I will do, as a matter of course," rejoined her ladyship; "but
what am I to do now!"

"I take the liberty of making a suggestion," murmured the living
example, submissively. "In the first instance, your ladyship took
from me the three bottles of strong wine, giving me four bottles of a
lighter variety instead. Now, as I have had the misfortune to break
these four bottles, how would it do to fall back on the original three
bottles of strong wine? As I pour out the wine in the pantry, I could
baptize it a little, and add some water to each glass. What does your
ladyship think of this plan?"

Her only reply was an annihilating glance, which Leonhard received
with an air of perfect composure, as her ladyship rustled past him and
descended into the kitchen.



CHAPTER III.

MARIE VON ARNIM.


With glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes her ladyship passed on, not to
the parlor, but through a side door and into a small chamber. It was
a plainly-furnished bedroom. It contained two uncurtained beds and a
bureau, which stood in front of the only window through which but
little light penetrated the room from the narrow side street into which
it opened. A young girl of extraordinary beauty was sitting before the
bureau, on which a single candle burned. Her small, lovely oval head
was that of a Venus; the tall, slender and graceful figure, that of a
Juno. In conformity with the fashion of that day, her dark-brown and
shining hair was arranged in hundreds of little curls, encompassed
with a golden band, which terminated on her forehead in a serpent's
head. Her eyes--the large blue eyes which contrasted so wondrously
with the dark hair--were gazing at the mirror. A sad smile played
about her beautiful, crimson lips, as she looked at the reflection of
her own figure, at the lovely, rosy countenance, the full and rounded
shoulders, the arms of dazzling whiteness, and at the tapering waist,
brought out to great advantage by the closely-fitting blue silk bodice.
She wore no ornament but the golden band in her hair; her jewels were
her youth and her beauty; the tears which trembled on her eyelashes
were more precious gems than were ever mined for in the depths of the
earth, for these came unsought from the depths of her heart.

She was so completely absorbed in her sadly-sweet dreams that her
mother's entrance was unobserved; and not until now, when her mother
stood at her side, was she awakened from her reverie.

"What do you wish, mamma?" she asked quickly. "Have our guests arrived?
Am I to go down?" She was about to rise, but her mother motioned her
back with an imperious gesture.

"Remain where you are, no one has come yet. Lisette will announce the
arrivals as they come. I desire to speak with you."

Her daughter sighed, folded her hands on her lap, and let her head fall
on her bosom in mute resignation. "I think I know what you wish to
speak about, mother," she whispered.

"That I can readily believe, nor is it at all surprising that you
should," said her corpulent ladyship, as she seated herself at her
daughter's side. "I wish to speak to you of our future and of your
duties. This state of things can continue no longer! I can no longer
endure this life of plated poverty. I must no longer be exposed to the
humiliations I am compelled to suffer at the hands of shoemakers and
tailors, grocers and servants, and the host of others who are dunning
me for a few paltry groschens. My creditors have compelled me to run
the gantlet again to-day, and I have been so annoyed and harassed that
I feel like crying."

"Poor mother!" sighed Marie. "Ah, why did we not remain in quiet,
little Pillnitz, where we were doing so well, where our modest means
were sufficient for our support, and where we were not compelled to
gild and burnish our poverty!"

"For the hundredth time I will tell you why we did so," rejoined her
mother, impatiently. "I left Pillnitz, and brought you to Dresden,
because in Pillnitz there were only pensioned revenue officials,
invalid officers, and a few gray-headed lawyers and judges, but no
young gentlemen, and, least of all, no marriageable, wealthy gentlemen,
for you."

"For me, mamma? Have I ever expressed any longing to be married?"

"Perhaps not, for you are a simple-minded, foolish dreamer; but I
desired it. I recognized the necessity of making a wealthy and a
suitable match for you."

"If you had recognized this necessity, mother," cried Marie, bursting
into tears, "it was very cruel of you to let any other than such
wealthy, marriageable gentlemen come to our house. If this is really
a matrimonial bureau, we should have permitted only those to register
themselves who possessed the necessary qualifications."

"I see you are becoming quite sarcastic and bitter," said her ladyship,
shrugging her shoulders. "You have profited somewhat by your interview
with Schiller."

Marie drew back with a quick, convulsive movement, and a sigh escaped
her lips. "You should not have mentioned the name of this noble man at
such a time, at a time when I am again compelled to deceive him."

"Enough of this sentimentalism, Marie," rejoined her mother. "Monsieur
Schiller is a very pleasant and agreeable man; he may be a great poet
besides, but a suitable husband for you, he is not! He can scarcely
earn enough for his own support, and his clothing is not respectable.
How did he look when he came here yesterday? You will admit that it is
impossible to bring him into the society of rich cavaliers and elegant
officers, in his disorderly costume."

"He looked just as he did when we first met him at Madame Albrecht's,
and yet you then begged him to visit us. And you it was who afterwards
encouraged his visits."

"Nor do I regret having done so," remarked Madame von Arnim, quietly.
"Councillor Schiller is a man of high respectability and eminence.
Our intimacy with him is of great advantage to us. It proves to the
world that we are wise and intellectual ourselves, for otherwise, so
intellectual a man would not have selected us as associates. Believe
me, this intimacy has greatly advanced our social position; it has
called great attention to us, and placed your youth and beauty in the
proper light. Gentlemen of the highest standing and greatest wealth
now consider it a great honor to be permitted to visit at our house,
since they know that Frederick Schiller adores you, each one of them
is anxious to achieve the renown of supplanting the celebrated poet
in your favor and making you his wife. You have a great many suitors,
Marie, and you owe them, in a great measure, to your intimacy with
Schiller."

"But that is wrong, that is criminal!" cried Marie, bursting into tears.

"Why so?" rejoined Madame von Arnim, laughing. "He was the alluring
bait we used to catch our gold-fishes with; I can see nothing criminal
in that. Why was this wise man foolish enough to fall in love with you,
as he must have known that a union between you and him is impossible?"

"Why impossible?" asked Marie, quickly; she dried her eyes, and looked
defiantly into her mother's complacent, smiling countenance.

"Why impossible? Because you are of too good, too noble a family to
ally yourself with a man who is not a nobleman, who has no preëminent
rank."

"Mother, Frederick Schiller's rank is higher and more illustrious than
that of counts and barons. There are hundreds of princes, counts, and
barons, in the German empire, and but one poet, Frederick Schiller.
Happy and highly honored throughout all Germany will the woman be to
whom Frederick Schiller gives his name, whom he makes his wife."

"Well, that may be," said Madame von Arnim, contemptuously, "but one
thing is certain, and that is, that you will never be this woman."

"And why not?" asked Marie, passionately. "If Schiller really loves me,
and offers me his hand, why shall I not accept it? Because he is not
wealthy? He will know how to convert the treasures of his intellect
into millions of money. Until then I can practice economy. My wants are
few, and you well know, mother, that I can make a little go a long way.
Then, permit me to be happy in my own way. I will tell you the whole
truth, mother, I love Frederick Schiller, and, if he asks me to be his
wife, I shall be the happiest of God's creatures."

"Nonsense!" rejoined her ladyship. "You will be kind enough to give up
all thought of this foolish love, and make up your mind to marry the
noble and wealthy gentleman selected for you by your mother."

"Mother," cried Marie, imploringly, "do not be so cruel, have pity on
me! Do not compel me to destroy my own happiness, for I tell you that I
can only be happy at Schiller's side."

"And why should you be happy?" asked her mother, coldly. "What right
have you to happiness above the rest of mankind? Do you suppose I am
happy? _I_ have never been, and have never imagined I had a _right_
to be. Life is a pretty hard nut; in attempting to crack it we break
our teeth, and when we at last succeed, we find that it is empty, after
all. Whether we are personally happy or not, is a matter of small
moment--the one thing is to do our duty to others; and your duty it is,
to repay your mother for her sacrifices for yourself and your brother.
At your father's death you were both young children, and of course his
lieutenant's paltry pension was not sufficient for our support. But I
could not let you starve, and it was my duty to give you an education
that would qualify you to take the position in society to which your
rank entitles you. I did not hesitate for a moment, and, although I was
still young, and might have made a second and an advantageous marriage,
I gave up all such plans, sold my handsome and costly trousseau, and
retired with you to the little town of Pillnitz, where I devoted myself
wholly to the education of my children. You know that this is so, do
you not?"

"I do," replied Marie, as she grasped her mother's hand and carried it
to her lips. "You sacrificed yourself for your children, and they are
indebted to you for all that they are."

"Unfortunately, that is not a great deal as yet," said her mother.
"Your brother is only a poor second-lieutenant, whose salary is not
sufficient for his support, and you are only an indigent young lady of
noble birth, who must either become a governess or marry a fortune. My
means are now entirely exhausted. Little by little I have sold all the
valuables I possessed, my diamonds, my jewelry, and my silver-ware.
I finally parted with my last jewel, the necklace inherited from my
mother, in order that we might live in Dresden a year on the proceeds.
But the year is almost at an end, and my money also. We cannot maintain
ourselves here more than four weeks longer, and then the artistic
structure of our social position will crumble over our heads, and all
will be over. You will be compelled to earn your own bread, your poor
brother will be reduced to the greatest extremities, and your mother
will have to take up her abode in a debtors' prison, as, after her
well-considered plans have failed, she will have no means to meet the
demands of her numerous creditors. All this will be your work, the
responsibility rests with you."

"O my God, have pity on me!" sobbed Marie. "Show me the result of all
this trouble!"

"The result is, governess or countess," said Madam von Arnim, quietly.
"In your weakness you may suppose there could be a third alternative,
that of becoming Councillor Schiller's wife. Yet I will never give
my consent to such a misalliance; a misalliance is only excusable
when gilded over with extraordinary wealth. But Councillor Schiller
is poor, and will always remain poor; he is an idealist, and not a
practical man. I should like to know what advantage I should derive
from having the poet Schiller as a son-in-law. Can he compensate me
for my sacrifices? can he replace my jewels, my trousseau, and my
silver-ware? You know that he cannot, and never will be able to do
so. It is your sacred and imperative duty to compensate and reward me
for the sacrifices which I have made for you, and to secure to me in
my old age the comfortable existence of which care and solicitude for
yourself and your brother have hitherto deprived me. You will marry the
rich Count Kunheim. You will receive his attentions in such a manner as
to encourage him to offer you his hand, which you will then accept. I
command you to do so!"

"But, mother, this is impossible, I do not love the count, I cannot
marry him! Have pity on me, mother!" she sank down on her knees, and
raised her hands imploringly. "I repeat it; I love Frederick Schiller!"

"Well, then, love Frederick Schiller, if you will," said her ladyship,
with a shrug of her shoulders, "but marry Count Kunheim. It is given
to no woman to marry the object of her first love, to make the ideal
of her heart her husband. You will only share the common lot of
woman; you will have to renounce your first love and make a sensible
marriage. I can tell you, however, for your consolation, that marriages
of the latter sort generally prove much happier in the sequel than
these moneyless love-marriages. When hunger stalks in at the door
love flies out at the window. On the other hand, the most lovelorn
and desolate heart will finally recover, when given a daily airing in
a carriage-and-four. Drive in your carriage, and accord me a seat in
it; I am weary. I have been travelling life-long on the stony streets,
and my feet are wounded! Marie, I entreat you, my child, take pity on
the poor mother, who has suffered so much, take pity on the brother,
who must give up his career in life, unless we can give him some
assistance. He would be compelled to leave the army, and perhaps his
only resource would be to hire himself out as a copyist to some lawyer,
in order to earn a subsistence. Marie, dear Marie, I entreat you, take
pity on your family! Our happiness is in your hands!"

She made no reply, she was still on her knees, had covered her
countenance with her hands, and was weeping bitterly. Her mother gazed
down upon her without an emotion of pity, her broad, fleshy face and
little gray eyes expressed no sympathy whatever.

"Be reasonable, Marie," said her ladyship, after a short interval,
"consider the happiness of your mother and brother, rather than
the momentary caprice of your heart. Cast aside these dreams, this
sensitiveness, and seek your own happiness in that of your family."

"It shall be as you say," said Marie, rising slowly from her knees.
"I will sacrifice my own happiness for your sake, but I make one
condition."

"And that is--?"

"That all these little mysteries and intrigues be discontinued, and
Schiller be told the whole truth. No more signs are to be given
requesting him not to come; he is no longer to be made use of and yet
denied at the same time. He must not be permitted to hope that his
addresses will be accepted; he must learn that they will be rejected.
If he should then still desire to visit us, our door must be open to
him at all times, and the light must never be placed in my window again
to warn him off. This is my condition. Accept it, and I am ready to
cover my face with a mask, and play the rôle which the necessities of
life compel me to assume."

"I will accept it," replied Madame von Arnim, "although I consider
it very impolitic. Schiller's nature is violent, easily excited, and
deficient in that aristocratic cultivation which represses all the
movements of natural impulse. For instance, if he should come here this
evening, a very disagreeable scene might ensue; he would be capable of
reproaching me or yourself quite regardless of the presence of others."

"And he could reproach us with justice," sighed Marie, "I am resolved
rather to bear his anger than to deceive him any longer."

"But I am not," rejoined her ladyship, "I have a perfect horror of
these _scènes dramatiques_. But you will have it so, you made it your
condition, and nothing remains for me but to accept it. And now, be
discreet, be sensible; induce Count Kunheim to declare himself this
evening, if possible, in order that Schiller may hear of your betrothal
as a _fait accompli_."

"I will do your bidding," said Marie, with a sad and yet proud smile.
"Give yourself no further care, the sweet dream is at end, I have
awakened. It is a sad awakening, and I will have to weep a great deal,
but my tears shall not accuse you; if I am unhappy, I will not say that
you were the cause of my unhappiness. It was God's will, this shall be
my consolation; God wills it and I submit!"

"And you do well, and will live to thank me for having prevented you
from becoming the wife of a poor German poet. And now, that we have
disposed of this disagreeable affair, come to my heart, my daughter,
and give me a kiss of reconciliation."

But, instead of throwing herself into her mother's extended arms, Marie
drew back. "No," said she, "do not kiss me now, mother; we could only
exchange a Judas kiss. Come, give me your hand, mother, and let us go
to the parlor to receive our guests. Let us, however, first extinguish
this candle."

"Yes, we will, or rather I will carry it with me to the kitchen, where
a little more light would not be amiss," said her ladyship, taking the
candle from the bureau. "Go to the parlor, my daughter, and receive
our guests, I must first go to the kitchen to see if every thing is in
order."

They both left the chamber; Marie repaired to the parlor, and her
mother passed on to the kitchen, to see if the new grocer had
furnished the butter and sugar. To her great relief, she learned that
he had, and, elated by this success, she determined to send to the
accommodating grocer for a few bottles of wine to replace the broken
ones. Nothing more was now wanting for the completion of her soirée!
She hastily gave the cook a few instructions, and then returned to the
bedchamber with the candle.

"He must not come this evening," said her ladyship to herself; "he
might frustrate the whole plan, for Marie is transformed into another
being in his presence, and Count Kunheim would not fail to observe that
she did not love him. No, the light must be burning--Schiller must be
kept away. As the rich Countess Kunheim, Marie will some day thank me
for not having kept my promise. Yes, she certainly will!"

She hastened forward to the window and placed the light in a
conspicuous place. But what was that! At this moment, a loud peal of
laughter resounded in the narrow street beneath the window--a peal of
laughter that was so bitter, so mocking, that it startled even her
ladyship's fearless heart; it seemed almost like a threat.

Her ladyship now repaired to the parlor to receive her guests, who had
begun to arrive, and this disagreeable sensation was soon forgotten.
Madame von Arnim greeted each one of her guests with the same
stereotyped smile--the same polite phrases. She quietly conducted the
few old ladies, who had been invited to give dignity to the occasion,
into the adjoining boudoir, and recruited an invalid major to play
whist with them. And now, after having satisfactorily disposed of these
guests, and rendered their gossiping tongues harmless, she returned to
the parlor, and displayed to the assembled officers and cavaliers the
smiling, pleasant countenance of a lady who is ready to become a loving
and tender mother-in-law.--For propriety's sake, a few young women
had also been invited, having small pretensions to good looks, and of
modest attire; such ladies as are commonly termed friends, and who are
nothing more than the setting which gives additional lustre to the gem.
To entertain these friends was the mission of the second-lieutenants,
while the officers of higher rank and the wealthy cavaliers congregated
around the goddess of their adoration--the lovely Marie von Arnim.

She was now once more the radiant beauty; her countenance was rosy
and joyous, her blue eyes were bright and clear, and bore no evidence
of the tears which had flowed back to her heart. A smile played about
her rosy lips, and merry, jesting words escaped the mouth which but
now had uttered wails and lamentations. Count Ehrhard von Kunheim was
completely captivated by her grace and beauty; his gaze was fastened
immovably on her lovely countenance. The homage she received from all
sides was a flattering tribute to the lady of his choice--the lady he
now firmly resolved to make his bride. It was very pleasant to see his
future wife the object of so much adoration. He would gladly have seen
the whole world at her feet, for then his triumph would have been so
much greater in seeing himself favored above all the world.

He gazed proudly at the array of rank by which his love was surrounded;
the expressions of admiration were sweet music in his ear. He mentally
determined to address her this very evening; in a few brief hours it
would be in his power to cry out to his rivals: "The lovely Marie von
Arnim is mine! She is my bride!" How great, how glorious a triumph
would that be! It was a pity that _he_ was not present! To have carried
off this prize before him would have crowned his triumph.

"Miss Marie," asked the count, interrupting the joyous conversation
which she was carrying on with several officers, "you have graciously
promised to make me acquainted with your protégé, Mr. Schiller? Is he
likely to come this evening?"

The smile faded from her lips, the lustre of her eyes was dimmed, and
she looked anxiously around, as if seeking help. Her eyes met the keen,
threatening glance of her mother, who at once came forward to her
assistance; she felt that escape was no longer possible--the hand of
fate had fallen upon her.

"I fear Councillor Schiller is not coming," said her ladyship, in her
complacent manner.

"No, he is not coming," repeated Marie, mechanically. Regrets, and many
praises of the genial poet they so much admired, and whose latest poems
were so charming, now resounded from all sides.

"It is really a pity that you have never been able to gratify us by
producing this celebrated poet," said Count Kunheim to the beautiful
Marie.

With a forced smile, she replied, "Yes, it is really a pity."

"And why is he not coming?" asked several gentlemen of Madame von
Arnim. "Pray tell us, why is it this councillor only comes when you are
alone, and is certain of meeting no company here?"

"He avoids mankind, as the owl does the light," replied her ladyship,
smiling. "We gave him our solemn promise that we would not receive
other visitors when he is with us; we promised, moreover, that we would
let him know when we had company in the evening by giving him a signal."

"And do you really give him the signal, my lady?" asked Count Kunheim.

"Yes, we do," replied Marie, in a low voice.

"And may I ask in what the signal consists that announces to the
man-fearing poet that other mortals have approached his goddess?"

"It is no secret," said Madame von Arnim. "I will tell you, count. The
signal is a lighted candle placed at the window of our dressing-room.
When he sees this light, he beats a retreat, and turns his back on our
house."

"Will he come if no light is burning for him?" inquired Count Kunheim,
quickly.

"He will," replied Madame von Arnim, laughing.

"Therefore, if no light should burn in the window, he would come this
evening?"

"Certainly he would. He vows that he only lives and thinks when in my
daughter's presence; and he would undoubtedly have come this evening if
I had not given him the signal."

"But, mother," exclaimed Marie, "you are mistaken; we did not give the
signal to-day."

"Then, as you gave no signal, he has simply declined to avail himself
of your invitation for this evening," remarked Count Kunheim.

"No, no, count, he has not come, because I gave the signal."

"Not so, my lady," observed a cold, quiet voice behind her; "true, you
gave the signal, but he has come nevertheless."

"Schiller!" exclaimed Marie, turning pale, and yet she smiled and her
eyes sparkled. She was on the point of hastening forward with extended
hands to meet him, but her mother had already interposed her colossal
figure between her and the poet, and was gazing at him defiantly, as if
to signify her readiness to take up the gauntlet if he should meditate
warfare.

"You are heartily welcome, Councillor Schiller," said she, in dulcet
tones. "We feel highly honored and are particularly pleased to have
you join us at last on an evening when we have company. These gentlemen
will all be delighted to make your acquaintance. We were speaking of
you when you entered, and all were regretting that you were not here,
and--"

"Of that I am aware," said Schiller, interrupting her. "I had been
standing in the doorway for some time, but you were conversing so
eagerly that no one noticed my presence. I saw and heard all."

Schiller's voice trembled while uttering these words, and his
countenance was deathly pale.

"Then you heard us all express an ardent desire to make your
acquaintance," said Count Kunheim, stepping forward. "I esteem myself
highly fortunate in being able to gratify this desire. Permit me to
introduce myself. I am Count von Kunheim."

Schiller did not seem to observe the count's extended hand, and bowed
stiffly; he then looked over toward the window-niche, to which Marie
had withdrawn, and where she stood trembling, her heart throbbing
wildly. How angry, reproachful, and contemptuous, was the glance he
fastened on her countenance! But his lips were mute, and as he now
withdrew his gaze, he erected his head proudly, and a derisive smile
quivered on his thin, compressed lips. With this smile he turned to the
gentlemen again, and greeted them with a haughty inclination of his
head, like a king who is receiving the homage of his subjects. "You
expressed a desire to see me, gentlemen, I am here. The conversation
which I overheard, compelled me to show myself for a moment, in order
to correct a little error imparted to you by Madame von Arnim."

"An error?" said her ladyship, in some confusion. "Really, Mr.
Schiller, I am at a loss to understand exactly your meaning."

"I will make myself understood, Madame von Arnim. You told these
gentlemen that I avoided mankind as the owl avoids the light. But
this is not the case, and I beg these gentlemen not to credit
this statement. I do not avoid mankind, and I do not hate my
fellow-creatures, but I love them. I love and revere the human
countenance, for the spirit of God is reflected in the human eye. I
love my fellow-creatures, and although they have sometimes caused me
pain, and rudely awakened me from my dreams of happiness, yet, my faith
in humanity is unshaken, and--"

"Oh, Schiller," cried Marie, stepping forward from the window-niche,
and no longer able to conceal her agitation, "Schiller, give me your
hand, tell me--"

"Miss von Arnim," said he, interrupting her, "I have nothing to say to
you, I only desire to speak to these gentlemen! I do not wish you to
consider me a foolish misanthrope, gentlemen, and therefore, I take
the liberty of correcting a second erroneous statement made by Madame
von Arnim. She told you that I had exacted of her the promise, to
warn me by a signal-light when the ladies were entertaining company,
because social intercourse was burdensome and repugnant to me. This
is, however, not the case, but exactly the reverse. These ladies, and
particularly Miss Marie von Arnim requested me to come here only when
the window was dark, and on the other hand never to visit them when I
saw a light in the window. Miss von Arnim--"

"Schiller," said she, interrupting him, in a loud and trembling voice,
and laying her hand on his arm, "Schiller, I conjure you, go no
further!"

"Miss von Arnim also explained to me why she desired this," continued
Schiller, as though he had not heard Marie's imploring voice, as
though he did not feel the pressure of her trembling hand. "Miss von
Arnim told me that on the evenings in which the signal would be given
the circle of her mother's nearest relatives would be assembled in
the house, in which circle it was impossible to introduce a stranger.
Gentlemen, it affords me great pleasure to recognize in you the dear
cousins and uncles of this young lady, and I congratulate her on her
brilliant and exclusive family party. And now permit me to explain
why I dared to enter this house, although the light displayed in the
window proclaimed the presence of the family."

"But there was no light at the window," exclaimed Marie, eagerly; "this
is an error! I desired that you should come this evening, and on that
account it was expressly understood between my mother and myself that
no--"

"The light was there," said her ladyship, interrupting her; "I had
placed it there! Be still, do not interrupt the councillor; he said he
had something to explain.--Continue, sir! Why did you come, although
the light was displayed in the window?"

"Because I wished to know what it really meant," replied Schiller, with
composure and dignity. "You see, my lady, I am not afraid of the light,
and I seek the truth, although I must admit that it is a painful and
bitter truth that I have learned to-day. But man must have the courage
to look facts in the face, even if it were the head of the Medusa.
I have seen the truth, and am almost inclined to believe that the
eternal gods must have imparted to me some of the strength of Perseus,
for, as you see, I have not been transformed into stone, but am still
suffering. And now that I have corrected her ladyship's errors, I
humbly beg pardon for having cast a shadow over the gayety of this
assembly. It will certainly be for the last time! Farewell, ladies!"

He inclined his head slightly, but did not cast a single glance at
the lovely Marie von Arnim; he did not see her faint, and fall into
Count Kunheim's arms, who lifted her tenderly and carried her to the
sofa, where he gently deposited his precious burden. Nor did he see
the friends rush forward to restore the insensible young lady to
consciousness with their smelling-bottles and salts. No, Frederick
Schiller observed nothing of all this; he walked through the parlor
and antechamber toward the hall-door. Near the door stood the 'living
example,' looking up with an expression of unspeakable admiration at
the tall figure of the poet, who had written his two favorite pieces,
"The Robbers," and "Fiesco." He was so grateful to the poet for having
put her ladyship to shame, that he would gladly have knelt down and
kissed his feet.

"Oh, Mr. Schiller, great Mr. Schiller," murmured Leonhard, hastening
forward to open the door, "you are not the only one whom she has
deceived. She has deceived me also; I, too, am a wretched victim of her
cunning. But only wait, sublime poet, only wait; I will not only avenge
myself, but you also, Mr. Schiller. I will cut the pieces still larger,
and the turkey shall not go half around, not half around! I will avenge
both myself and Schiller!"

He did not hear a word of what Leonhard had said, for he hurried past
him, down the steps, and out into the street. There he stood still
for a moment gazing at the lighted windows, until a veil of unbidden
tears darkened his vision. The burning tears trickling down his cheeks
aroused him. He shook his head angrily, and pressed his clinched hands
against his eyes to drive them back; not another tear would, he shed.
Away! Away from this house! Away!



CHAPTER IV.

SOULS IN PURGATORY.


As if pursued by the Furies, with uncovered head, his yellow locks
fluttering in the wind, he rushed onward through the streets, over
the long Elbe bridge, past the golden crucifix, which towered in the
moonlight, and now along the river bank beneath the Brühl Terrace,
following the river, and listening to the rippling waves, that murmur
of peace and eternal rest.

The moon threw golden streaks of light on the river, and a long shadow
on its bank, the shadow of the poet, who was hurrying on in grief and
agony. Where? He did not know, he was not conscious that he was walking
on the verge of an open grave; he was only instinctively seeking a
solitude, a retreat where the ear of man could not hear, nor the eye
of man see him. He wished to be alone with his grief, alone in the
trying hour when he would be compelled to tear the fair blossom from
his heart, and tread it under foot as though it were a poisonous weed.
He wished to be alone with the tears which were gushing from his
soul, with the cries of agony that escaped his quivering lips--alone
in the great and solemn hour when the poet was once more to receive
the baptism of tears, that his poetic children, his poems, might be
nourished with the blood that flowed from his wounded breast.

He had now entered the little wood which at that time skirted the river
bank a few hundred yards below the terrace. Its darkness and silence
was what he had sought, and what he needed. Alone! Alone with his God
and his grief! A loud cry of anguish escaped his breast and must have
awakened the slumbering birds. The foliage of the trees was agitated by
a plaintive whispering and murmuring, as though the birds were saying
to the moonbeams: "Here is a man who is suffering, who is wrestling
with his agony! Console him with your golden rays, good moon; give him
of your peace, starry summer eve!"

Perhaps the moon heard the plaintive appeal of the birds and the
spirits of the night, for at this moment it broke forth from the
concealing clouds and showed its mild, luminous countenance, and
pierced the forest with its golden beams, seeking him who had disturbed
the peace of slumbering Nature with the agonized cry of his wakeful,
tormenting grief.

There he lies, stretched out like a corpse, or like one in a trance.
But the moon sees that he is not dead, not unconscious, and sadly
witnesses the tears trickling down his countenance, and hears his
sobs and wails, the wails of the genius suffering after the manner of
humanity; and yet the spirit of God dwells in his exalted mind, and
will give him strength to overcome this grief.

The night sheds a soft light on his tearful countenance, as though
it greeted him with a heavenly smile; and the stars stand still and
twinkle their greetings to the poet. The melody of the birds is
hushed, and they listen in the foliage, as though they understood his
lamentations. Schiller had now raised his head; the stillness and
solitude of the night had cooled the burning fever of his soul.

"Is it then true, am I destined only to suffer and to be deceived?
Years roll on and I have not yet enjoyed the golden fruits that life
promises to man, the golden fruits of Arcadia. My heart was filled with
such joyous anticipations, my soul longed for these fruits. Although
the spring-time of my life has hardly begun, its blossoms have already
withered. All is vanity and illusion! Falsehood alone can make men
happy, truth kills them like God's lightning! I have looked thee in the
face again to-day, Truth, thou relentless divinity, and my heart burns
in pain, and my soul is filled with agony. The poet is a prophet, my
present condition proves it; what the poet in me sung, the poor child
of humanity now experiences; my sufferings are boundless."

He buried his face in his hands, and the moon saw the tears which
trickled out from between his fingers, and heard the poet's plaintive,
trembling voice break in upon the stillness of the night like the soft
tones of an Æolian harp:

    "Ich zahle Dir in einem andren Leben,
    Gieb Deine Jugend mir!
    Nichts kann ich Dir als diese Weisung geben.
    Ich nahm die Weisung auf das andre Leben
    Und meiner Jugend Freuden gab ich ihr!

    Gieb mir das Weib, so theuer Deinem Herzen!
    Gieb Deine Laura mir!
    Jenseit des Grabes wuchern Deine Schmerzen!
    Ich riss sie blutend aus dem wunden Herzen,
    Ich weinte laut und gab sie ihr!"[31]

"And gave--albeit with tears!" repeated Schiller once more, and a cry
of anguish escaped his breast. "Is it then inevitable? Is man born only
to suffer, and are those right who assert that life is only a vale of
sorrow, and not worth enduring?"

He seemed to be painfully meditating on this question. Nature held its
breath, awaiting his answer; even the birds had ceased chirping, and
the wind no longer dared to rustle in the tree-tops. In what tones will
the Æolian harp of the soul respond? What reply will the poet make to
the question propounded by the man?

He looks up at the bright firmament shedding its peaceful beams upon
his head; he looks at the stars, and they smile on him. There is
something in him that bids defiance to all sorrow and melancholy. A
soft, heavenly, and yet strong voice resounds in his soul like the
mysterious manifestation of the Divinity itself. He listens to this
voice; the pinions of his soul no longer droop; he rises, stretches out
his arms towards the moon and the stars, and his soul soars heavenward
and revels in the glories of the universe.

"No," he exclaimed, in loud and joyous tones, "no, the earth is no
vale of sorrow, it is the garden of the Almighty. No, life is no bauble
to be lightly thrown away; the sufferings life entails must be endured
and overcome. Give me strength to overcome them, thou indwelling
spirit; illumine the darkness of my human soul, thou flame of God,
holy poetry! No, it were unworthy the dignity, unworthy the honor of
manhood, to bow the head under the yoke of sorrow, and become the slave
of melancholy for the sake of a faithless woman. A greeting to you, you
golden lights of the heavens! you shall not look down on me with pity,
but with proud sympathy! I am a part of the great spirit who created
you, am spirit of the spirit of God, am lord of the earth. Down with
you, sorrows of earth! down with you, scorpions! I will set my foot on
your head, and triumph over you. You shall have no power over me. I am
a man; who is more so?"

And exultantly and triumphantly he once more cried out to the night and
the heavens: "I am a man!"

It was not the sky which now illumined his countenance, it was the
proud smile of victory; the light in his eyes was not the reflection of
the stars, but the brave courage of the soul which had elevated itself
above the dust of the earth.

"The struggle is over, grief is overcome! I greet thee, thou peaceful
tranquil night, thou hast applied the healing balsam to my wounded
breast: and all pain will soon have vanished!"

He turned homeward, and walked rapidly through the wood and along the
river bank, which was here and there skirted with clumps of bushes and
shrubbery.

Suddenly he stood still and listened. It seemed to him that he had
heard the despairing cry of a human voice behind some bushes, close to
the river bank. Yes, he had not been mistaken, he could now hear the
voice distinctly.

Schiller slowly and noiselessly approached the clump of bushes from
behind which the voice had seemed to proceed; he bent the twigs aside,
and, peering through the foliage, listened.

He beheld a strange sight. He saw before him the river with its
rippling waves, and, on its narrow bank, kneeling in the full
moonlight, a human form--a youth whose countenance was pale and
emaciated, and whose long black hair fluttered in the breeze. His
features were distorted with anguish, and the tears which poured down
his hollow cheeks sparkled in the light like diamonds. He was partially
undressed, and his coat, hat, and a book, which, to judge from its size
and shape, appeared to be a Bible, lay at his side on the sand. The
youth had raised his bare arms toward heaven, his hands were clasped
together convulsively, and in his agony his voice trembled as he
uttered these words:

"I can no longer endure life. Forgive me, O God in heaven, but I
cannot! Thou knowest what my struggles have been! Thou knowest that
I have tried to live--tried to bid defiance to the torments which
lacerate my soul! Thou knowest how many nights I have passed on my
knees, entreating Thee to send down a ray of mercy on my head, to
show me an issue out of this night of despair! But it was not Thy
will, Almighty Father! Thou hast not taken pity on the poor worm that
writhed in the dust, on the beggar who stretched out his hands to Thee,
imploring alms! Then, pardon me at least, and receive me in Thy mercy!
I am about to return to Thee; O God, receive me graciously! And thou,
thou hard, cruel, joyless world, thou vale of affliction, a curse upon
thee--the curse of a dying mortal who has received nothing but torment
at thy hands! Farewell, and--"

He arose from his knees, and rushed forward with extended arms toward
the deep, silent grave that lay there ready to receive him. Suddenly a
strong hand held him as in a vice, he was drawn back and hurled to the
ground at the water's edge. It seemed to him that a giant stood before
him--a giant whose golden locks were surrounded by a halo, whose eyes
sparkled, and whose countenance glowed with noble anger.

"Suicide," thundered a mighty voice, "who gives you the right to murder
him whom God has created! Felon, murderer, fall on your knees in the
dust and pray to God for mercy and forgiveness!"

"I have prayed to God for weeks and months," murmured the trembling
youth, writhing in the dust, and not daring to look up at the luminous
apparition that hovered over him like God's avenging angel. "It was
all in vain. No ray of light illumined the night of my sufferings. I
wish to die, because I can no longer endure life! I flee to death to
seek relief from the hunger that has been gnawing at my vitals for four
days, and has made of the man a wild animal! I--"

His wailing voice was silent, his limbs no longer quivered; when
Schiller knelt down at his side, he saw that his features were
stiffened and that his eyes were widely extended and glassy.

Schiller laid his ear on the unfortunate man's breast and felt his
pulse. His heart was not beating; his pulse no longer throbbed.

"It is only a swoon, nothing else; death cannot ensue so quickly unless
preceded by spasms. Poor unfortunate, forgive me for calling you back
to the torment of existence; but we are men, and must not violate the
laws of Nature. I must awaken you, poor youth!"

He stretched out his hands to the river, filled them with water, and
poured it on his pale forehead, and, as he still lay motionless, he
rubbed his forehead and breast with his hands, and breathed his own
breath into his open mouth.

Slowly life dawned again, a ray of consciousness returned to the glassy
eyes, and the trembling lips murmured a low wail, which filled the
poet's soul with sadness, and his eyes with tears of sympathy.

There lay the image of God, quivering in agony; the most pitiful
complaint of the human creature was the anxious cry of the awakening
human soul, "I am hungry! I am hungry!"

"And I have nothing to allay his hunger with," said Schiller,
anxiously; "nothing with which to make a man of this animal."

"Woe is me," groaned the youth, "this torment is fearful! Why did you
call me back to my sufferings? Who gave you the right to forbid me to
die?"

"Who gave you the right to die?" asked Schiller, with severity.

"Hunger," groaned the youth, "hunger, with its scorpion teeth! If you
compel me to live, then give me the bread of life! Bread! Give me
bread! See, I beg for bread! I preferred to die rather than beg, but
you have conquered me and bowed my head in the dust, and now I am a
beggar! Give me bread! Do not let me starve!"

"I will bring you bread," said Schiller, mildly. "But, no, you might
avail yourself of my absence to accomplish your dark purpose. Swear
that you will remain here until I return."

The unfortunate youth did not reply; when Schiller again knelt down at
his side, he saw that he was again in a swoon.

"When he awakens, I will have returned," murmured Schiller. He arose,
and ran rapidly to the little inn that stood at the foot of Brühls's
Terrace. To his great joy, a light was still burning in the main room,
and, when he entered, several guests were still sitting at the table
enjoying their pipes and beer. Schiller stepped up to the counter,
purchased a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, and returned with all
possible haste to the unfortunate youth, who had resumed consciousness,
and was, at the moment of his arrival, painfully endeavoring to raise
his head.

Schiller knelt down, and rested the poor youth's head on his knees. "Be
patient, my poor friend, I bring relief, I bring bread!"

How hastily did his trembling hands clutch the loaf, and how eagerly
did they carry it to his mouth! How radiant was his countenance when
he had taken a long draught from the bottle which Schiller held to his
pale lips.

The poet turned away, he could not endure this painful sight. Sadly and
reproachfully he looked upward.

"O God, Thou hast made Thy world so rich! There is enough to provide a
bounteous repast for all! The trees are laden with fruits, and man may
not pluck them; the bakeries are filled with the bread of life, and man
may not take, although he is starving. He sinks down in the death agony
while the rich usurer drives by in his splendid equipage, and looks
down proudly and contemptuously upon the unhappy man whose only crime
is that he is poor. O eternal, divine Justice, it is in vain that I
seek thee behind the clouds. I look for thee in vain in the palaces of
the rich, and in the huts of the poor!"

"Ah, how refreshing, how delightful was this bread and wine!" sighed
the unfortunate youth. "You are my saviour, you have freed me from
torment. I thank you! Let me kiss this merciful hand!--You will not
permit me, you withdraw it? You despise me, the suicide, the coward?
You have a right to do so!"

"No," said Schiller, gently, "I do not despise, I pity you. I also have
suffered, I also have felt the scorpion stings of poverty. No, I do not
despise you. All men are brothers, and must aid one another. All cares
are sisters, and must console one another. Speak my brother, tell me,
how can I aid you? Unburden your bosom to my sister soul, and I will
try to console you."

"You are an angel-messenger from God," sobbed the young man. "Your lips
speak the first words of sympathy I have heard for long months. I could
bathe your feet in tears of gratitude. Yes, my brother, you shall hear
the sad history of my life, and then you will perhaps justify, perhaps
pardon, the crime I was about to commit. Oh, my brother!"

Schiller seated himself at his side on the river bank, and the pale
youth rested his head on the poet's proffered shoulder. A pause ensued.
While he who had but just returned from the gates of death, was
endeavoring to collect his confused and wandering thoughts, the voice
of pity was resounding in the heart of him who had been stronger than
his brother in the hour of trial, who had bid defiance to misfortune,
and with manly fortitude had overcome grief. His heart was filled with
sympathy for his weaker and less courageous brother, who had desired to
flee from life because his soul lacked the pinions which had borne the
poet aloft, above the dust and misery of earth.

"How can he fly to whom the Almighty, the Omnipresent, has not given
the pinions of enthusiasm? He must crawl in the dust, his only thought
is the gratification of his animal instincts, and like an animal he
must live and perish. For him from whom God withholds this heavenly
ray, all is night and darkness--no stars shine for him; it were well he
sought safety in the silence of the grave, in a cessation of torment!
I thank Thee, O God, for the strength Thou hast given, for the ray of
light Thou hast sent down to illumine my dark path in life!"

These words did not pass Schiller's lips, they were only uttered in
the depths of his soul. He looked up at the moon and stars, journeying
in unchangeable serenity on their heavenly course. "Smile on, smile
on! You know nothing of man's sufferings. The eternal laws have marked
out your course. Why not ours, too? Why not man's? Why must we wander
in the desert of life, seeking happiness, and finding pain only! We
conceive ourselves to be godlike, and yet we are no more than the worm
that writhes in the dust, and is trodden under foot by the careless
passer-by."

These were the thoughts that passed through Schiller's mind, while the
pale youth at his side was narrating, in a voice often interrupted by
sobs and tears, the history of his sufferings.

It was a simple, unvarnished story of that suffering and want
altogether too proud to seek sympathy or relief. A story such as
we might daily hear, if our ears were open to the mute pleadings
that so often speak to us in the pale, careworn countenances of our
fellow-travellers in the journey of life. Why repeat what is as old as
the world! A shipwrecked life, a shipwrecked calling! There was that in
this son of poverty which urged him to the acquisition of knowledge;
he believed his mind endowed with treasures, and his ambitions heart
whispered: "You will one day be a renowned preacher! God gave you
inspiration; inspiration will give you the words with which to move the
hearts of men!" He was the son of a poor tailor, but his father looked
with pride on the boy who always brought home the best testimonials
from his school, and who was held up to the other scholars as a
model of diligence. It would be an honor for the whole family if the
tailor's son should become a learned man and a pastor. All that the
parents could save and earn by hard work they willingly devoted to the
education of their son, that he might become a scholar, and the pride
of his family. What is there, that is glorious and beautiful, which
parental love does not hope for, and prophesy for the darling son?

Young Theophilus had passed his examination with honor, and had
repaired to the university in Leipsic to continue his studies when the
sad intelligence of his father's death reached him, summoning him back
to Dresden, to his mother's assistance. He now learned, what he, the
student who had lived only in his books, had hitherto had no knowledge
of whatever. He learned that his affectionate father had contracted
debts, and pawned all that he possessed, in order that his son's
studies might be promoted. When the father found it no longer possible
to assist his son, he had died of grief. And now the usurers and
creditors came and took possession of every thing, regardless of the
distressful cries of the unhappy mother, and the protestations of her
despairing son. The law awarded them all, and they took all! Theophilus
had reason to esteem it almost a blessing when his mother followed
her husband to the grave a short time afterward. In the hospital of
the Ursuline Sisters, he had at least found shelter for her, and six
days afterward she found rest in her last abode in the narrow coffin
accorded her by charity.

But where was a refuge to be found for the poor son who had so
suddenly been driven from the study into the desert of life, where he
could find no oasis in which to refresh himself and rest his wearied
limbs? At first he refused to be discouraged, and struggled bravely. So
little is needed to sustain life! and for this little he was willing
to give all the knowledge acquired by honest diligence. He applied
to the rich, to the learned, to artists; he offered his services, he
wished to give instruction, to teach children. But, where were his
recommendations? What guaranties had he to offer? The man who sought
work was taken for a beggar, and the persons to whom he applied
either turned their backs on him, or else offered a petty gratuity!
This he invariably rejected; he wished to work, he was not a beggar.
His unseasonable pride was ridiculed, his indignation called beggar
insolence! Long days of struggling, of hunger, and of humiliations;
long nights without shelter, rest, or refreshment! This little wood,
on the river bank, had been his bedchamber for a long time. Here,
on the bed of moss, accorded him by Nature, he had struggled with
despair, feeling that it was gradually entwining him in its icy grasp!
Finally, it held him as in a vice, and he felt that escape was no
longer possible. Hunger had then spoken to him in the tempter's voice,
and whispered to his anxious soul that crime might still save him;
it whispered that he could not be blamed for a theft committed under
such circumstances, and hard-hearted society would alone bear the
responsibility. Then, in his anguish, he had determined to seek refuge,
from the tempter's voice, in death, in the silent bed of the river.

Theophilus narrated this sad history of his sufferings with many sighs
and groans. He painted a very gloomy picture of his life, and Schiller
was deeply moved. He laid his hand on the poor youth's pale brow and
looked upwards, an expression of deep devotion and solemn earnestness
depicted in his countenance.

"Thou hast listened to the wails of two mortals to-day, thou Spirit of
the Universe. The one spoke to Thee in the anger of a man, the other in
the despairing cry of a youth. Impart, to both of them, of Thy peace,
and of Thy strength! Give to the man the resignation which teaches him
that his mission on earth is not to be happy, but to struggle; teach
the youth that the darkest night is but the harbinger of coming day,
and that he must not despair while in darkness and gloom, but ever look
forward hopefully to the coming light."

    "Thou hast had Hope--in thy belief thy prize--
    Thy life was centred in it,"

murmured Theophilus, smiling sadly.

Schiller started and looked inquiringly at the youth, who, in so
strange a coincidence of thought, had given expression to his despair
in lines taken from the same poem from which the poet had repeated a
verse in his hour of trial.

"Are the lines you have just uttered your own?" asked Schiller.

"No," replied the youth, softly, "from whence should such inspiration
come to me. The lines are from Schiller's poem, 'To Resignation,' from
the pen of the poet who is the favorite of the gods and muses, the poet
who is adored by all Germany."

"Do you know this Frederick Schiller, of whom you speak with such
admiration?"

"No, I have never seen him, nor do I desire to see him! I love and
adore him as a sublime spirit, as a disembodied genius. I would,
perhaps, envy him if he should appear before me in human form."

"Envy him, and why?"

"Because he is the chosen, the happy one! I do not wish to see the poet
in bodily form; I do not wish to know that he eats and drinks like
other men!"

"And suffers like other men, too," said Schiller, softly.

"No, that is impossible!" cried Theophilus, with vivacity. "His soul is
filled with Heaven and the smiles of the Divinity; he cannot suffer, he
cannot be unhappy!"

Schiller did not reply. His head was thrown back, and he was gazing
up at the heavens; the moon again shone on his countenance, and the
starlight sparkled in the tears that rolled slowly down his cheeks.
"He cannot suffer, he cannot be unhappy!" he repeated in a low voice.
It seemed to him that a transformation was going on within himself,
that he was growing larger and stronger, and that his heart had laid
on a coat of armor. He sprang from the ground, stood proudly erect,
and shook his arms aloft. "Here truly is manly strength, the sinews
are tightly drawn, the muscles are firm; a genius has selected this
breast as its abode, to give it strength to shake off the burden of
sorrow." He felt that his good genius had conducted him to this unhappy
man, that he might be taught that the strong alone can bear pain, and
that the weak must succumb under the rod of affliction. His heart was
filled with pity for the weak brother at his side. "It was God's will
that I should save you from death; in so doing, I however contracted
the obligation to preserve your life. I will meet this obligation. Tell
me, what were your plans before your father's death?"

"I hoped, when I should have finished my course at the university, to
enter some family as teacher, where I could, in time, earn enough to
enable me to go to the Catholic Seminary in Cologne, and maintain me
there, while completing my studies."

"You are a Catholic?"

"My father was from the Rhine, and my mother was of Polish extraction.
Both were Catholics, and it was their fond hope that their son might
some day receive ordination and become a priest of the Catholic Church.
It seems, however, that I have only been ordained to misery, and I
could veil my head and die in shame and remorse!"

"Young man, this is blasphemy, you forfeit God's grace when you speak
in this manner. He sent me here to save you, and with his aid I will
not leave my task uncompleted. How much will enable you to prepare
yourself for your future career?"

"The sum that I require is so great that I scarcely dare mention it."

"Would one hundred dollars be sufficient?"

"That is far more than I need, more than I ever possessed!" cried
Theophilus, almost terrified.

"If I should promise to give you this amount--to give it to you here,
at this same place, and at this hour, in a week from to-day, would
you swear to wait patiently and hopefully until then, and to make no
further wicked attempt on your life?"

"I would swear to do so," replied Theophilus, in a trembling and
tearful voice.

"By the memory of your father and mother?"

"By the memory of my father and mother!"

"Well, then, my brother, with God's help I will bring you the money in
a week from to-day. I would say to-morrow, if I had the money; but I am
poor, like you, my brother. No, this is hardly true. I am rich, for I
have friends, and these friends will furnish the money you require, if
I entreat them to do so."

"You will narrate my history to your friends?" said Theophilus,
blushing.

"That I will have to do, in order to awaken sympathy, but I will not
mention your name, nor will I so closely narrate the circumstances that
they can possibly divine of whom I am speaking. Moreover, you told me
that you had no friends or acquaintances in Dresden?"

"True," sighed Theophilus, letting his head sink on his breast,
"misfortune knows itself only, and cares are its only friends. It
conceals its wounds, and hides itself in darkness. But I have no
longer the right to be proud; I bow my head in humility. Plead my
cause, my noble, generous friend, my saviour! God's mercy will give
you eloquence, and the consciousness of having saved a human being
from disgrace and crime will make your words irresistible. My heart is
filled with the joyful conviction that God has sent you as a messenger
of peace and reconciliation. I will believe in, and confide in you; I
will live, because you tell me to live!"

"Live, my brother, and hope!" said Schiller, gently. "Await me at
this place, and at this hour, a week from to-day; I hope to bring you
the money. But you must have something with which to purchase the
necessaries of life until then. Here, my brother, take all that I have
in my purse. I have only four dollars, but that sum will suffice to
provide you with food and lodging."

Theophilus took the money, and kissed the giver's hand. "I have proudly
rejected the gifts offered me by the rich, preferring to die rather
than receive their heartless charity. But from you, brother Samaritan,
I humbly accept the gift of love. I willingly burden myself with this
debt of gratitude."

"Let us now separate," said Schiller. "In a week we meet again. But
_one_ request I desire to make of you."

"You have but to command, and I will obey you implicitly."

"I beg you not to attempt to find me out, or to learn who I am? We have
seen each other's countenances in the moonlight, but they were covered
with a golden veil. Do not attempt to remove this veil in the light of
day, and to learn my name. I feel assured that you will make no mention
of this incident of to-night, but I also desire to avoid meeting you
in future. I therefore beg you not to go out much in Dresden, and not
to frequent the main streets of the city. If we should meet, my heart
would prompt me to extend my hand and speak to you, and that would not
be desirable."

"Further down on the Elbe there is a little inn where I can board
cheaply. From here I will go to this inn and there remain till the
appointed hour. I will not go near the city."

"Good-night, brother!" said Schiller, extending his hand. "Here we
shall meet again. And now, turn you to the left, and I will turn to the
right. May good spirits watch over us till our return!"



CHAPTER V.

SEPARATION.


Schiller walked homeward with rapid strides. The streets of the city
were silent and deserted, and the houses enveloped in darkness. He
passed by the house in which she lived for whom he had suffered so
much. He did not look up, but his head sank lower on his breast, and a
feeling of unutterable sadness came over him; but he had no pity for
himself, not a single sigh or complaint escaped his breast.

A sensation of chilliness crept over him as he now entered his solitary
dwelling. No one was there to extend the hand of sympathy and bid him
welcome. His two friends had awaited his return for a long time, but
had finally gone home. They knew their friend's disposition, they knew
that Schiller always avoided men when his passions were aroused, and
sought out some solitude where no eye could witness his struggle to
subdue them.

"He very probably has gone to Loschwitz, to spend a few days in the
pavilion in which he wrote 'Don Carlos,'" said Körner. "His genius
always directs the poet aright, and he possesses the healing balsam for
his wounds in his own breast. I will go to Loschwitz myself, to-morrow,
to see if he is there, and to make a few inquiries as to his condition.
If I find him there I shall leave him to himself till his agitation and
passion have subsided, and he voluntarily returns to his friends."

"But if he is not there?" said Göschen, anxiously, as they stepped out
into the street. "I never before saw Schiller in so violent a state of
excitement. If this fearful awakening from his delusion should overcome
him--if in his despair he should--"

"Do not conclude your sentence," said Körner, interrupting him, "do not
utter that terrible word. Do not insult your absent friend; remember
that he is a genius. He will not yield to despair like an ordinary man;
his soul will soon recover its buoyancy."

But for this night, at least, Körner's prophecy was not destined
to be fulfilled. True, Schiller had overcome despair, but the pain
still rankled in his breast. The bed on which he threw himself in his
physical exhaustion was a bed of pain. His thoughts and remembrances
were the thorns that pierced his heart, and drove sleep from his couch.

He arose the next morning at a late hour in a state of feverish
excitement, entered his plainly-furnished parlor, and looked gloomily
around him. But yesterday his parlor had looked so cosey and
comfortable, to-day it seemed so bare and desolate. Those flowers in
the little vase were but yesterday so bright and fragrant, to-day they
were faded. The books and papers on his table were in the greatest
disorder. The appearance of the room awakened in Schiller the sensation
of sadness and desolation we experience on entering the deserted room
of a dear friend who has suddenly left us.

Yes, joy, love, hope, and enthusiasm, had departed from this room;
it now looked dreary and desolate. How can we work, how can we write
poetry, without enthusiasm, without joy?

"Elegies on a faithless sweetheart," said Schiller, in loud, mocking
tones. "A tearful poem, with the title: 'When last I saw her in the
circle of her suitors;' or 'The amorous swain outwitted!'"

He burst into laughter, stepped to the window, and commenced tapping
on the panes with his fingers, as he had done when Körner and Göschen
first aroused his suspicions concerning his love. He was now reminded
of this; he hastily withdrew his hands and walked back into the room.
But he suddenly recoiled, and uttered a cry of dismay, as though he had
seen a ghost. Marie von Arnim stood in the doorway, pale but composed,
her large blue eyes fastened with an imploring expression on Schiller's
countenance.

She gave him no time to recover from his surprise, but locked the door
behind her, threw her bonnet and shawl on a chair, and walked forward
into the room.

"Schiller," said she, in a soft, trembling voice, "I have come because
I do not wish you to despise me, because I do not wish the thought of
me to leave a shadow on your memory."

He had now recovered his composure; a feeling of anger raged in him and
demanded utterance.

"What is there surprising in your coming? Why should you not have come?
Ladies of rank go in person to their tailors and shoemakers when they
desire to make purchases or leave orders, why should you not come to a
poet to order a nuptial poem. I am right in supposing that the young
lady wishes me to write a poem in honor of her approaching nuptials
with Count Kunheim, am I not? I am also right, I believe, as regards
the name of that favored member of the exclusive family circle of
yesterday, who is destined to become that young lady's husband?"

"Yes, you are," she replied, softly. "You see, Schiller, I have not
interrupted you, but have received your words as the penitent receives
the blows of the rod, without complaint or murmur, although blood is
streaming from her wounds. But now be merciful, Schiller! let this
punishment suffice, and listen to me!"

"I know what the substance of the poem is to be," observed Schiller,
in the same threatening voice. "Undoubtedly you desire a sort of
illustration of the courtship, from the first meeting down to the
avowal, and then the golden honeymoon is to be painted in brilliant
colors. Probably it would meet your wishes if a comical feature were
also introduced; for instance: a poor poet, who, in his absurd conceit,
had dared to consider himself Count Kunheim's equal, and who, acting on
this belief, had even dared to fall in love with the beautiful young
lady, who, of course, only laughed at his presumption."

"No, Schiller, who would have been the proudest and happiest of women
if circumstances had permitted her to avow her love freely and openly."

"Yes," cried Schiller, gruffly, "circumstances are always the
scapegoats of the weak and faithless. I, however, admit the
difficulties arising from the circumstances by which you were
surrounded in this instance. You were making use of the poet's love to
allure richer suitors into your toils, a game requiring some finesse.
My rôle was neither a flattering nor a grateful one, but yet it was a
rôle, and a dramatic poet cannot expect to have good ones only. But
enough of this! Let us speak of the poem. When must it be ready?"

"Schiller," she cried, almost frantic, tears streaming from her eyes,
"Schiller, will you have no pity on me?"

"Did you have pity on me?" asked he, with a sudden transition from his
mocking to an angry tone of voice, and regarding Marie, who had folded
her hands humbly, and was looking up at him entreatingly, with glances
that grew darker and angrier as he spoke. "I ask you, did you have
pity on me? Did it never occur to you, while engaged in your shrewd
calculation, that you were preparing to give me a wound for which there
is no cure? When two loving hearts are torn asunder by death or the
hand of fate, the pain can be borne, and time may heal the wound; when
the cruel laws of human society compel us to separate from those we
love, a consolation still remains. The sacred, the undimmed remembrance
of past hours of bliss, and the hope that time, the great equalizer,
may remove all obstacles, still remains. But what consolation remains
to him who has been cheated of his love, his enthusiasm, and his
ideal?--to me, over whose heart the remembrance of this deception lies
like a pall? From whence am I to derive faith, hope, and confidence,
now that you, whom I loved, have deceived me? You have not only
destroyed my happiness, but you have also offended the genius of
poetry within me. Henceforth all will seem cold and insipid. The word
'enthusiasm' will ring in my ear like a mockery. I will even mistrust
the vows of fidelity uttered by the lips of my dramatic creations; for,
now that you have so shamefully deceived me, there is no longer any
thing noble, pure, and beautiful."

He hurled a last angry glance at her, and then turned away, walked to
the window and looked out into the street. Marie von Arnim followed him
and laid her cold, trembling hand on his arm.

"Schiller, if I were really the woman you take me to be, would I have
come to you at the risk of being observed by others--at the risk of its
becoming known throughout the city that I had visited you? I have come,
Schiller, because I was unwilling that the most beautiful music of my
life should end in discord, because I was unwilling that you should
remember me with anger, when I only deserve commiseration."

"Commiseration!" repeated Schiller, shrugging his shoulders.

"Yes," she continued, in a soft voice, "yes, I deserve it. I am not
bad, not faithless, and not false. I am only a poor girl whose heart
and hands have been fettered by fate. A poor girl who cannot do what
she would, but must obey God's command and submit to her mother's
will. Do not require me to acquaint you with all the misery which
afflicts my family, with the cares and humiliations which those must
suffer who cover their want with a veil of wealth, and polish and plate
iron poverty till it has the appearance of golden plenty. Believe me,
Schiller, we are so poor that we do not know how we are to escape from
our importunate creditors."

"And yet, you gave agreeable dinners, and entertained the exclusive
family circle at delightful suppers," observed Schiller, jeeringly, and
without even turning to look at Marie, who stood behind him.

"My mother would have it so, Schiller. She had sold her last jewels in
order that she might be able to come to Dresden, where she hoped to
marry her daughter to a fortune. Schiller, you will believe me when I
swear that I knew nothing of this, and that my first and greatest joy
on coming to Dresden was experienced when I made your acquaintance, and
when you honored me with your notice! Schiller, I have dreamed a sweet,
a blissful dream."

"And the light in the window was the night-lamp in this dream," he
observed, in mocking tones.

"I make no attempt to justify myself," said she, gently. "My mother
gave me her commands, and I was compelled to obey. When she yesterday
declared to me that the only issue out of all her troubles was for me
to accept Count Kunheim's addresses, and begged me to do so, I only
consented after a long and fruitless struggle, after many tears and
entreaties. I yielded to my mother's commands, but I exacted this
condition: Schiller must now learn the whole truth, these little
mysteries must cease, and no light shall be placed at the window this
evening, requesting him not to come. This, my mother promised, but she
was cruel enough to break her promise."

"So that I should still wander about, a deluded and credulous
simpleton, if I had not broken through the barriers of the exclusive
family circle in defiance of the warning light."

"I am thankful that fate willed otherwise, and frustrated my mother's
intentions," said Marie, gently. "When we are compelled to deny any
one the happiness we would so willingly accord, it is our duty to tell
him the truth, although it may be painful. Truth is a two-edged sword;
it not only wounds him who hears, but him also who imparts it. I have
come, Schiller," continued Marie in an agitated voice, after a short
pause, "to take leave of you--to say to you: Schiller, we shall never
meet again in life, let us part in peace!"

"Never again!" murmured he, slowly turning his countenance toward the
woman, who had heretofore looked so bright and joyous, so radiant
with youth and beauty, and who now stood at his side so humble and
submissive, her tearful eyes raised imploringly to his.

"Never again!" sighed Marie. "Our paths in life will henceforth be
widely separated. I intend to marry the man whose wealth will save my
mother and brother. I will be to him a faithful and grateful wife,
although I may not be a loving one. I am to be affianced to Count
Kunheim at noon to-day, and I have employed the last hour of my liberty
in coming here to take leave of you, Schiller, and to beg forgiveness
for the pain inflicted on you, of which I am the innocent cause."

"The innocent cause!" cried Schiller, turning around and staring at
her with his large, flaming eyes. "How can you say that you are the
innocent cause of the pain which you inflicted on me? You knew that I
loved you. I told you so, and you listened to my avowal. You gave me
hope, although you must have known that my love was hopeless."

"You speak of yourself only," rejoined Marie, in low and trembling
tones. "You are not thinking of me at all; it does not occur to you
that I also have suffered, that I also have hoped. Yes, Schiller, I
did suppose that my mother would yield to my prayers and entreaties;
even yesterday I conjured her on my knees to permit me to seek my own
happiness in my own way, as my heart prompted. At that time I was not
aware that my mother's circumstances were so desperate. I knew not that
her honor and even her liberty were endangered. When she admitted that
such was the case, when she disclosed the whole sorrowful truth, I
felt as though my heart would break, as though all the blossoms of my
future had suddenly faded. The conviction forced itself upon me that
it was my duty to sacrifice, to my mother's welfare, my own wishes and
hopes. I did my duty; I gave up my own happiness to save my mother--to
secure, at least, a ray of sunshine in the evening of her life. I have
submitted. I will become the wife of Count Kunheim."

"And will say to him that you joyfully accept and reciprocate his
generous love!"

"No, I will not tell this noble man a falsehood, nor have I done so.
When he yesterday evening offered me his hand, I told him honestly
and openly that I esteemed and confided in him, and would be a very
thankful and faithful wife, but that my heart was no longer free--a
love dwelt therein that could never die, for it was Schiller whom I
loved!"

"You told him that?" asked Schiller, with emotion. "And he--"

"He agreed with me that the heart which loved Schiller could never
forget him, but added that he would only esteem me the more, and could
never be jealous on account of this love. He said that my love for
Schiller should be the altar of our married life and of our house--the
altar to which we would bring the fruits of our noblest thoughts and
feelings."

"Noble, generous man!" cried Schiller, "Yes, he deserves to be happy
and to possess you. Be his wife, Marie, and do your duty. Let the early
blossom of your heart fade, and let the full summer-rose of your love
bloom for your husband. You can do so, Marie, for--I say it without
anger or ill-will--you have never loved me! No, do not contradict, do
not attempt to assure me that such is not the case. In this hour, when
my soul is elevated above all selfish wishes and desires--in this hour,
I rejoice in recognizing the fact, _you have never loved me_. I know
that a kind Providence has thus spared you the pain I now endure; I
know you will be happy at the side of the noble and high-souled man who
demands your hand in marriage. I do not mean to say that you will soon
forget me; I think too well of myself to believe this. No, you will yet
shed tears when you think of him who loved you, but the bridegroom will
be there to dry these tears. With tender sympathy he will speak to you
of your love, as of a beautiful dream of the spring-time, and you will
find that the awakening from this dream on a bright, flowery summer
day, is also beautiful, and that will console you. Some day, after many
years, when my pain has long since vanished, and I have gone home to
the unknown land from whence no traveller returns--some day, when your
weeping children and grandchildren surround your couch, and you feel
your last hour approaching, you will once more remember this dream of
the spring-time. It will greet you like a ray of sunshine from the new
life that is dawning. With a smile on your lips, you will turn to your
children and say: 'I leave you gold and treasures, a brilliant name and
high rank. But I leave you a more precious legacy. Schiller loved me,
and a poet's love is a blessing that is inherited from generation to
generation. Your father's name gives you rank and honor before men, but
the love which the poet consecrated to your mother gives you renown and
immortality. Strive to be worthy of this love. Go to the grave of the
poet who died in solitude and poverty, and pray for him!'"

"No, Schiller, that will not be all that I say to those who will some
day surround my death-bed," said Marie, drying her tears, in order
that her large, luminous eyes might gaze at his sad countenance more
fully and firmly. "I will say to them: 'I am now returning to God, and
to my first, my imperishable love. In death I may proudly and joyfully
confess I have loved Schiller! I still love him!'"

The poet, as if irresistibly attracted by her enthusiasm and her
glowing countenance--hardly knowing what he did--extended his arms
toward Marie. She threw herself on his breast; he pressed her gently to
his heart, and let his hand rest lovingly on her head.

It was a silent and solemn moment, a last blissful and sorrowful
embrace. Their lips were dumb, but their hearts communed in holy
thought and prayer.

After a pause, Schiller gently raised up between his hands the head
that was still resting on his breast; he gazed long and lovingly into
the fair girl's countenance. The tears that flowed from his eyes fell
on hers like glowing pearls, mingling with her own tears and trickling
down her cheeks. Schiller bowed his head, and kissed the lips that
responded warmly to his own. He then pressed her hands to his eyes and
released her from his embrace.

She turned slowly, walked toward the door, and put on her shawl and
bonnet. "Farewell, Schiller!"

"Farewell, Marie!"

And now she stood in the doorway, her eyes fastened on him in a last
lingering look. He stood silently regarding her.

A grating noise broke in upon the silence; it was the closing door
behind which Marie had vanished. Schiller remained standing at the same
place, his eyes fixed on the door. Had it suddenly grown so dark? was
the sun overcast? or was it only the tears in his eyes that made the
room look so gloomy? Had a storm suddenly arisen? did an earthquake
make the ground tremble beneath him? or was it only the storm of
passion that was passing over his head? Why was it that his knees
trembled, and that he would have fallen to the ground had not a chair
stood near by, into which he sank, groaning?

The hour in which a man wrestles with his agony--the hour of
renunciation and conquest, is sacred; the eye of God only may witness
it, but no tongue must attempt to describe it, unless indeed that of
the poet whose pain is surrounded by the halo of poetry--the poet to
whom the hour of renunciation has also become the hour of enthusiasm.

Some one is weeping and lamenting behind that door. Is it Marie?

Some one is speaking in loud and earnest tones behind this door. Is it
the poet composing an inscription for the gravestone of his love?

    "Give me thy Laura--give me her whom love
    To thy heart's core endears;
    I tore the fond shape from the bleeding love,
    And gave--albeit with tears!"

A loud knock is heard at the door, and then a second, and a third, in
quick succession. Schiller shakes back the hair from his countenance,
and hastens forward to see who is clamoring for admission.



CHAPTER VI.

THE SONG "TO JOY."


It was the postman, who brought the poet a rosy, perfumed letter from
Weimar.

With eager hands, Schiller opened and unfolded the missive. His
countenance beamed with joy as he recognized Madame von Kalb's
handwriting. "Good and noble woman, you have not forgotten me! Do you
still think of me lovingly?"

No, she had not forgotten him; she still loved him, and begged him,
with tender and eloquent entreaties, to come to her.

"Schiller, the world is a solitude without you; you are the thought of
my inmost thoughts, the soul of my soul! Frederick, separation from
you has disclosed the holy mystery of your heart and of mine. It is
this: We are the two halves that were one in heaven, and our mission
on earth is to strive to come together, in order that our eternal
indivisibility and unity of spirit may be restored. Schiller, when we
are once more united, hand in hand, and are gazing in each other's
eyes, we shall feel as if we had left the earth and were once more in
heaven. Frederick, come to your Charlotte!"

"Yes, I am coming to my Charlotte, I am coming!" cried Schiller, in
a loud voice, as he pressed the letter to his lips. "You have saved
me, you have made me myself again, Charlotte! I am no longer lonely,
no longer unloved. Your heart calls me, your spirit longs for me. I
feel as though my soul's wings, destined to bear me aloft above the
misery of earth, were growing stronger. They will bear me to you,
Charlotte--to you, the dearest friend of my life! You shall console,
you shall restore me, your friendship shall be the balsam for the
wounds of my heart. Eternal Fate, I thank thee for having permitted me
to hear this call of friendship in this my hour of trial. I thank thee
that there is still one soul that I can call mine; I praise thee that
I am not compelled to stand aside in shame and tears, like an unloved,
friendless beggar, while the happy are feasting at the richly-laden
table of life. One soul I can at least call my own, and I will keep
her holy, and love and thank her all the days of my life. Away with
tears! away with this sorrowing over a dream of happiness! Farewell,
Marie! Be forgiven. I will think of you without anger, and rejoice when
you become a happy countess! Farewell, Marie![32] A greeting to you,
Charlotte! I am coming to you! I am coming!"

He walked slowly to and fro; the cloud of sorrow that had rested
on his brow gradually lifted, and his countenance grew clearer and
clearer. The man had conquered--the poet was once more himself.

"I will go to Körner! I must see my friend!" He took down his hat, and
walked out into the street. His mind had freed itself of its fetters,
his step was elastic, and he bore himself proudly, his blue eyes turned
heavenward, and a joyous smile rested on his thin and delicate lips.

Thus he entered Körner's dwelling, and found his friend on the point
of starting to Loschwitz, to see what had become of the poet. Schiller
extended both hands and greeted him with a loving glance.

"Here I am again, my friend. The prodigal son returns from his
wanderings, and begs to be permitted to take up his abode in your heart
once more. Will you receive him, friend Körner?"

"I will not only receive him, but will kill the fatted calf in honor
of his return. I will give a festival, to which all our friends shall
be invited, in order that they may rejoice with me, and exclaim, 'The
wanderer has returned! Blessed be the hour of his return!'"

Schiller threw himself into his friend's arms, and pressed him to his
heart. "I have caused you much sorrow and trouble. I have been a wild
and stubborn fellow. Why should beautiful women be blamed for not
loving this ungainly and unmannerly fellow, when there are so many
handsomer, richer, and happier men in the world? Marie von Arnim is
right in marrying the rich and handsome Count Kunheim; and you must
not blame her on this account, or say of her that she deceived me. She
has only done what we all must do on earth: she has done her duty, and
God will bless her and give her His peace in the hour of death for so
doing.--But let us speak no more of this."

"No, my friend, we will speak of it no more," said Körner, heartily;
"let us only rejoice that you have returned to your friends; that you
once more believe in us and our friendship. How happy my wife will be
when her dear friend is restored to her again! how glad Göschen will be
when you once more extend your hand to him in a loving greeting!"

"Poor, generous Göschen!" said Schiller, thoughtfully. "I was cruel and
unjust to him yesterday, I imputed ignoble motives to my friend!"

"He thinks of it no longer," said Körner; "he has no memory for the
words spoken by your anguish. He will be only too happy when you once
more greet him with a loving smile."

"How good and patient you all are with me!" said Schiller, softly; "and
how little have I deserved such treatment at your hands! In truth, I
feel as though I had now returned to you after a long separation--as
though I had only seen you of late through a cloud that had arisen
between us, and in which a single star shone, and-- Be still, no more
of this! The cloud has been dissipated; I now see you again, and will
rejoice with you as long as we are together."

"Schiller, you do not contemplate leaving us?" said Körner, sadly.

"I am a poor wanderer, my friend, whose stay at any one place is but
brief. At last, a time will come even for me, when I can lay down my
staff and knapsack, and exclaim, 'Here I will rest! This is my home!'
But the gods only know whether this home will be in the grave or in the
heart of a woman!"

"No sad thoughts now, my friend, if you please, now that I am ready to
exult and rejoice over your return!"

"You are right, no sad thoughts at this time! Let us turn our thoughts
to joy. The first song I write shall be in praise of joy. I will no
longer avoid mankind, no longer seek solitude! As you said, Körner,
so shall it be! Give the prodigal son a festival, call our friends
together, let us once more assemble around the festive board and
partake of the repast of friendship and joy. This festival shall be in
honor of my return and of my departure."

Körner gave this festival. The lost one, who had of late withdrawn
himself from his friends in the violence of his love, had now returned,
and this was a fitting occasion for joy and festivity. He called his
friends together; he had for each a kind word and a tender greeting.
Göschen was richly rewarded when Schiller gave him the manuscript of
his Don Carlos, that was now to be given to the world, and to entwine
the halo of immortality around the poet's brow, and to enkindle and fan
the flame of enthusiasm in thousands and thousands of hearts!

Six days after Schiller's "return," the festival which Körner had
promised took place. Körner and his beautiful young wife, Theresa
Huber, Göschen, and the artist Sophie Albrecht, were present; a few
friends in Leipsic had also joyfully availed themselves of Körner's
invitation, and had come to Dresden to see the poet once more.

There he sat at the festive board, his arm thrown around Körner's neck;
in his right hand he held the goblet filled with sparkling Rhine wine.
His eyes beamed and his countenance shone with enthusiasm. His glance
was directed upward, and, perhaps, he saw the heavens open and the
countenance of the blessed, for a soft and joyous smile played about
his lips.

"Look at this favorite of the muses," cried Körner. "One might
suppose they held him in their embrace, and were whispering words of
inspiration into his poet's heart."

"Perhaps they are whispering a song of joy in my ear, my friend, in
order that I may repeat it to you, the favorite of the gods! But before
I do so, I will narrate a history--a history that will touch your
hearts and open your purses, unless you are cold-hearted egotists,
and then you deserve to share the fate of King Midas, whose very food
and wine were turned into gold because he was a hard-hearted miser. I
condemn you to this punishment if you have the courage to listen to my
story without being moved to tears and generosity!"

With deep pathos and eloquence Schiller recounted to his listening
friends his midnight adventure, his conversation with the poor
youth who had attempted to take his own life. So graphic was his
representation of the unfortunate youth's distress and vain struggles,
that the hearts of his hearers were deeply touched, and no eye remained
dry.

When he had concluded his narrative and told his friends of the promise
he had made to poor Theophilus, Schiller arose from his seat, took the
plate which lay before him, and walked around the table, halting at
each seat and extending his plate like a beggar, with soft words of
entreaty. When the ready hands opened and dollars and gold-pieces rang
out on the plate, Schiller inclined his head and smiled, thanking the
givers with looks of tenderness.

Now he had returned to his seat and was counting the money. "Seventeen
gold-pieces and thirty dollars. I thank you, my friends! You have
saved a human life; you have redeemed a soul from purgatory! To-morrow
night I will take this love-offering to the poor youth; the blessing
of a good man will then rest on your closed eyelids, and you will be
rewarded with sweet dreams and a happy awakening. Now, my dear friends,
you shall receive from the poet's lips the thanks that are glowing in
my heart. Now, you shall hear the exulting song to joy which Körner
supposed the Muses were whispering in my ear. Raise your glasses and
listen; when I incline my head repeat the words last spoken."

Schiller arose, drew a small, folded sheet of paper from his pocket,
opened it, glanced over it hastily, and then let it fall on the table.
He did not require it; his song resounded in his mind and brain; it
was written on the tablets of his heart, and his lips now uttered it
exultantly:

    "Joy, thou brightest heaven-lit spark,
    Daughter from the Elysian choir,
    On thy holy ground we walk,
    Reeling with ecstatic fire!"

His eyes shone with enthusiasm, his cheeks glowed, and a heavenly smile
illumined his whole countenance, while reciting his song "To Joy."
His friends caught the inspiration of his poem, arose with one accord
from their seats, clasped hands and gazed into each other's eyes--into
the eyes that shone lustrously, although they were filled with tears.
Now, at the culminating point of his rapture, Schiller's countenance
suddenly quivered with pain as he recited a second verse of his song:

    "Yea--who calls _one_ soul his own,
    _One_ on all earth's ample round:--
    Who cannot, may steal alone,
    Weeping from our holy ground."

"Who cannot, may steal alone, weeping from our holy ground," repeated
his friends. The tears gushed from their eyes; they clasped hands more
firmly, and listened breathlessly to the words of the poet, whose voice
now rose again to the high tones of enthusiasm. It was almost like
an adoration of joy, friendship, and love. Their hearts beat higher,
mightier and mightier the waves of rapture surged in their kindred
souls.

    "Myriads join the fond embrace!
    'Tis the world's inspiring kiss.
    Friends, yon dome of starry bliss
    Is a loving father's place."

They embraced each other; they wept, but with rapture, with enthusiasm.
The kiss that passed from mouth to mouth was given to the whole world;
for all that the world could offer of love, of friendship, and of
happiness, the friends found combined at the happy festival to which
Schiller had dedicated his song "To Joy."



CHAPTER VII.

TOGETHER ONCE MORE.


Night had come, a dark, gloomy night. The moonlight that had played so
beautifully, on the rippling waters of the Elbe, a week before, was
wanting on this night. The sky was overcast, and the clouds that were
being driven through the heavens by the wind, cast on the river dark
shadows that looked like yawning graves.

Theophilus stood on the river bank at the same place where he had knelt
and prayed a week before. He stood there gazing at the dark river and
looking up from time to time at the driving clouds.

"If he should not respect his word, if he should not be able to keep
his promise, because no generous hearts responded to his entreaties!
What then? Will this river be my grave? Are the waves murmuring my
death-song? No, no! be brave, Theophilus; wait patiently, be strong in
hope! His voice was so gentle, so full of conviction, when he promised
to meet me here to-night, to bring me help! He appeared before me like
the angel Gabriel; I will believe that God sent him in human form, and
that he will also send him a second time. Hope, my heart, and be strong
in faith!"

He folded his hands in silent prayer, and listened anxiously to every
slight noise other than the murmuring of the waves on the shore, and
the rustling of the wind in the trees, that broke in upon the stillness
of the night. Some distance up the river, on its opposite bank, lay the
city with its many lights. On the Elbe bridge, towering conspicuously
above all other objects, stood the gilded crucifix, surrounded by a
circle of lighted lamps, placed there by pious hands.

Theophilus saw this crucifix, and it awakened pious thoughts and brave
resolutions in his breast. "I will endure all that may befall me in
patience and hope. By resignation and pious devotion, I will endeavor
to atone for the sins committed in my despair. My whole life belongs to
Thee, my God, and shall be dedicated to Thy service! I will serve the
poor and the unfortunate. Every man who suffers shall be my brother, to
every man who stumbles will I extend a helping hand. I will strive to
dry the tears of the weeping, and, if I can do nothing else, I will, at
least, pray with them. This, I swear to Thee, my God!--this I swear by
yon luminous crucifix!"

The great bell resounded from the tower of the Catholic Church,
striking the eleventh hour. Theophilus shuddered; he remembered that he
had heard this bell at the moment when he was on the point of plunging
into his watery grave, and that it had then resounded on his ear like a
death-knell.

"Never will I hear this hour strike without fear and trembling. It will
always sound to me like the knell of the doomed criminal. Grant, O God,
that in such an hour I may prove myself a repentant sinner, and make
atonement for my crime! I resolve that I will do so," cried he, in a
loud voice. "I swear that this eleventh hour shall each day remind me
of my crime, and find me ready to devote to the welfare of mankind the
life I was about to sacrifice to despair."

"In the name of God and humanity I accept your vow!" said a solemn
voice behind him. "Here I am, my brother. Forgive me for having kept
you waiting, but important business prevented my coming earlier, and
I found it difficult to steal away from the friends who were with me,
without attracting observation. While awaiting me, you have formed good
resolutions, and made your peace with God and your conscience. Hold
fast to them, my brother; be firm and brave. Elevate your thoughts
above things perishable, let your soul soar above the vanities of
earthly existence, and you will find that spiritual joys will amply
console you for the sorrows of earth. Here is the money I have brought
you, here are one hundred and twenty dollars. According to your
calculation it will suffice to enable you to complete your studies, and
give you a start in your career. Take the money, my friend, and let us
part."

"Part! without giving me the name of my benefactor and saviour?" asked
Theophilus, holding the hand, that had given him the money, firmly
clasped in his own. "Part! and may I never hope to see and thank you in
the light of day?"

"Thank me, my brother, by being happy. Bear the light of day within
you, and then I shall be rewarded, then my memory will live in your
heart. Why should I tell you my name? I am your brother, let that
suffice. Go on your way, be just, and do good to others who are
suffering and who are unhappy, as you were. This shall be my thanks:
I say to you, with Christ: 'What you do to the least of these my
brethren, that you have done unto me.' Bear this in mind!"

The voice was silent; Theophilus knew that he was again alone. He
folded his hands, bowed his head, and prayerfully repeated the words,
that, in the stillness of the night, and amid the rustling of the wind,
had resounded on his ear like the solemn tones of an organ. "What you
do to the least of these my brethren, that you have done unto me. Bear
this in mind!"

"I will bear this in mind! I will endeavor to atone for the evil I
have done! I dedicate myself to God's service. The holy crucifix, that
illumines the surrounding darkness, has also illumined the darkness
of my soul. I will go to Cologne, and enter the seminary, in order
that I may become a priest--a pious, humble priest of the Church of
God. Farewell! earthly vanity, earthly pride, and earthly hope! I
will be a priest of mercy, for God has shown me mercy, and sent an
angel-messenger to save me. I will bear this in mind!"

While Theophilus was wending his way to Dresden, Schiller was
journeying toward Weimar in the stage-coach. After giving Theophilus
the money collected for him, Schiller had hurried to the post-office,
where his friends were waiting to take leave of him, and bid the
traveller a last farewell.

"Farewell! We shall soon meet again; I will soon return!" cried
Schiller from the stage-coach, as it rolled out of the court-yard on
through the city gate into the soft summer night.

"Charlotte is awaiting me!" murmured Schiller, as he sank back on the
hard cushions. "Charlotte is awaiting me. She is the friend of my soul.
Our spirits belong to each other, and I will show my friend the wounds
of my heart, in order that she may heal them with the balsam of tender
friendship."

But, strange to say, the nearer he came to his journey's end, the more
joyfully his heart throbbed, the less painful its wounds became.

"Charlotte, dear Charlotte, if I were but already with you! I feel that
the fire which drove me from Mannheim is not yet extinguished; a breath
from your lips will suffice to kindle the spark into a conflagration."

There is Weimar! Now the stage-coach has entered the city. Schiller is
on classic ground! On the ground where Germany's greatest poets and
intellects dwell. Wieland and Herder, Bertuch and Bode, dwell here;
here are also many artists and actors of eminence, and here lives the
genial Duke Charles August! And yet Weimar is desolate, for Goethe is
not here; he left more than a year ago.

Schiller knew this, but what did he care now! He had so longed to tread
this classic ground that his heart throbbed with joy at the prospect
of seeing and becoming acquainted with the celebrated men whose works
he had read with so much enthusiasm--whom he could now meet with the
feeling that he was not unworthy of them, and that he also now filled a
place in the republic of intellect.

He had been occupied with these thoughts during the whole journey; but
now they suddenly vanished. He thought only of Madame von Kalb, the
friend he had not seen for two years--the friend whose dear lips had
called him to her side in the hour of his deepest distress.

He had taken lodgings in the chief hotel of the city; it was already
quite late in the evening, so late that it seemed hardly proper to call
on a lady. He would not remain in his solitary chamber, but would walk
out, and at least look at the house in which she lived. If the lights
had, however, not yet been extinguished, if she should still be awake--
He did not complete this thought, but sprang down the steps, ordered
the servant, who was walking to and fro in the hall, to accompany him
and show him the house in which Madame von Kalb lived, and rushed down
the designated street with such long and rapid strides that the servant
could scarcely follow him.

There is the house in which Madame von Kalb lives, a modest little
house at the entrance of the park. A light is still burning behind the
basement windows, and he sees the shadow of a tall woman pass across
the closed curtains. "That is her figure, I would recognize it among
thousands! That is Charlotte!"

"I intend to enjoy this beautiful summer night in the park," said
Schiller, turning to the servant, with a hasty movement. "You may
return, I will be able to find my way back, alone."

As soon as the servant had vanished around the next corner, he walked
up to the door and opened it very softly, in order that the bell above
it might not betray his entrance. "I will take her by surprise,"
murmured he to himself; "I will see what effect my unexpected coming
will have on my dear friend."

The bell rang in such low tones that it could certainly not have been
heard in the room. But a servant came forward from the back end of the
hall.

"I call at Madame von Kalb's request. She is in this room, is she not?"

"Madame von Kalb is in. May I have the honor of announcing you?"

"It is unnecessary, she is awaiting me. I can enter unannounced."

He had uttered these words in subdued tones; Charlotte must not hear
him, must know nothing of his arrival until he stood before her. He
opened the door noiselessly, closed it gently behind him, and now
stood between the door and the heavy velvet curtain that hung over
the entrance. He could, however, see his friend through an opening
in the curtain. She sat reclining on the sofa, her beautiful eyes
gazing dreamingly into empty space. Her cheeks were pale with inward
agitation, and a soft smile played about her lips. Of whom was she
thinking? Of whom was she dreaming?

"Charlotte! dear Charlotte!"

She uttered a cry and sprang up from her seat.

"Charlotte, you called me to your side, and here I am! Will you not
welcome me?"

She stood as though incapable of utterance, but the beautiful, the
loved countenance, with its proud and noble expression, its rosy lips,
and soft smile, was before him. Before her stood Schiller, whom she
had yearned for since they last parted, whom she had loved ardently
and faithfully for two long, long years, without having seen him. But,
now he was there, he stood before her with extended arms. She thought
nothing, she felt nothing more than that Schiller had returned, and was
once more at her side. Happy, blissful reunion!

"Welcome, my Schiller! welcome, friend of my soul!" She threw herself
on his bosom, and he entwined his arms around her, as though they were
two chains with which he intended to bind, and hold her forever. Yes,
forever!

"Tell me, Charlotte, that you love me! utter the word which your lips
refused to confess in Mannheim. Do not again drive me out into the
darkness of life, as you did in Mannheim. I am weary of wandering, and
am disgusted with the world. You alone are true, in you only can I
confide. Accord me a home where I may lay down my head and rest. Tell
me, Charlotte, that this is my heart's home. Tell me that you love me?
You do not reply, Charlotte? Why are you silent?" He opened his arms
to release her, that he might look at her. But she did not raise her
head, she still lay on his breast. She had fainted! He lifted her in
his arms, carried her to the sofa, and knelt down beside her. As she
lay there with closed eyelids, and pale lips, he bowed down over her
and pressed his glowing lips to hers, entreating her to return to life.
"Charlotte, friend, awaken! Forgive me for having dared to surprise you
in the wilfulness of my happiness. Return to me, friend of my soul! I
will be quiet and gentle, will sit at your feet like a child, and be
contented to look up at your dear countenance, and read in your eyes
that you love me. Open these dear eyes! Soul of my soul, heart of my
heart, let me hear your loved voice! Give me a word of consolation, of
hope, of love!"

And Charlotte, called by the voice she had longed to hear for two long
years, awoke, and looked up lovingly into the countenance of him who
was the sun of her existence. She entwined her arms around his neck and
kissed his lips and his eyes. "I greet you, I kiss you, proclaimer of
my happiness."

"You must tell me that indeed you love me. My heart thirsts for these
words; it is wounded and bleeding, and you must heal it. I will drink
that oblivion from your lips, Charlotte, that will make me forget all,
save that you love me. It is disconsolate to be alone and unloved! I
cling to your heart as the shipwrecked mariner clings to the flower
thrown up before him by the waves, hoping thereby to save himself.
Charlotte, do not let me sink, save me! Let me seek safety from the
storm in the haven of your love! Say that you will let me seek and find
peace, enthusiasm, and happiness, in this longed-for haven."

She threw her arms around his neck, and pressed a kiss on his forehead.
"I love you, Schiller, I love you; I have the courage to tell you so,
and to break through all barriers, and place myself at your side. I
have the courage to testify before the whole world, and even to confess
to my husband: 'I love Frederick Schiller. Our souls and hearts are
bound together. Tear them asunder, if you can!' I love you, and with
that I have said all--have said, that I will be yours before God and
man, and that nothing shall longer separate us."

"And your husband?" asked Schiller, anxiously.

"He is a good and generous man," said Charlotte, smiling. "He will
not desire to hold me fettered to himself against my wish. Our union
was based on convenience and interest, and was never a happy one. We
have lived together but little; our natures were entirely different.
I have lived in retirement, while my husband has passed his time in
luxury and amusements at the court of Queen Marie Antoinette, where
he is a welcome guest. We respect and esteem, but we do not love each
other. When I confess my love and plead for a divorce, my husband will
certainly give his consent. Then I can belong wholly to the man I not
only love, but so highly esteem that I joyfully dedicate myself to him
until death, and even beyond the grave."

"It shall be as you say, my friend," cried Schiller, raising her hand
to his lips. "Nothing shall separate us, and even the king of terrors
shall have no terrors for us; in the joyousness of our union of souls
we will defy him. Yes, we will defy death, and the whole world!"

They kept their promises; they defied the whole world; they made no
secret of their union of hearts; they denied to none that they were
one and indivisible. Charlotte had the heroism to defy the world and
acknowledge her love freely. She had the courage to remain whole days
alone with Schiller in her little house. She held herself aloof from
society, in order that Schiller might read to her his two new novels,
and, above all, his 'Don Carlos.' Nor did she avoid being seen with him
in public. How could she deny him before men, when she was so proud
of him and of his love! She helped to adorn and make comfortable the
little apartments he had rented; she sent him carpets, flower-vases,
chairs, and many other things. She felt that she was his mother, his
sister, his sweetheart, and his friend. In the ardor of her passion,
she endeavored to combine the duties of these four persons in herself;
she felt that the divine strength of her love would enable her to
do so. In her confidence and guilelessness of heart, she never even
asked herself this question: Will the man I love be willing to rise
with me in this whirlwind of passion, to soar with me from heaven to
heaven, and to revel in ever-youthful, celestial thought and feeling,
regardless of earthly mutability?

Together, they visited the heroes of art and literature in Weimar, and,
together, they drove out to Tiefurt, where the Duchess Amelia had taken
up her summer residence.

The duchess gave the poet of "Don Carlos" and "Fiesco" a cordial
welcome. "I was angry with you on account of your 'Robbers,' Mr.
Councillor," said she, "nor was 'Louise Müllerin' entirely to my taste.
But 'Fiesco,' and, above all, 'Don Carlos,' have reconciled me to you.
You are, in truth, a great poet, and I prophesy a brilliant future for
you. Remain here with us in Weimar!"

"Yes, Mr. Schiller," cried the little maid of honor Von Göckhausen,
as she stepped forward, courtesied gracefully, and handed him a rose,
"remain in Weimar. The muses have commanded me to give you their
favorite, this rose, and to tell you, _sub rosa_, that Weimar is the
abode of the gods, and that the nine maidens would be well contented to
remain here."

"Göckhausen, take care," said the Duchess, laughing. "I will tell
Goethe what a fickle, faithless little thing you are. While he was
here, my Thusnelda's roses bloomed for him only, and for Goethe only
was she the messenger of the gods and muses. Now, the faithless
creature is already receiving messages from the muses for Frederick
Schiller! But she is not to be blamed; the poet of 'Don Carlos'
deserves homage; and, when even the muses worship Goethe and Schiller,
why should not Göckhausen do it also? Do you know Goethe?"

"No, not personally," replied Schiller, softly; "but I admire him as a
poet, and I shall be happy if I can some day admire and love him as a
man also."

"You should have come earlier," sighed the duchess. "You should have
made his acquaintance during the early days of his stay in Mannheim.
Then, you would indeed have loved him. At that time, he was in the
youthful vigor of his enthusiasm. It was a beautiful era when Goethe
stood among us, like the genius of poetry, descended from heaven,
enflaming our hearts with heavenly rapture. He is still a great poet,
but he has now become a man of rank--a privy-councillor! Beware, my
dear Councillor Schiller, lest our court atmosphere stiffen you, too,
and rob your heart of its youthful freshness of enthusiasm. Goethe was
a very god Apollo before he became a privy-councillor, and was entitled
to a seat and voice in the state council. By all means avoid becoming a
minister; the poet and the minister cannot be combined in one man. Of
this, Goethe is an example."

"No, he is not," cried Göckhausen, eagerly; "Goethe can be all that
it pleases him to be. He will never indeed cease to be a poet; he is
one in his whole being. Poetic blood courses through his veins; the
minister he can shake off at any time, and be himself again. This he
proved some eighteen months ago, when he suddenly took leave of our
court and all its glories, and fled from the state council, and all
his dignities and honors, to Italy. He cast all this trumpery of ducal
grace behind him, and fled to Italy, to be the poet by the grace of God
only!"

"See, my Thusnelda has returned to her old enthusiasm!" cried the
duchess, laughing. "That was all I desired; I only wished to arouse her
indignation, and make her love for Goethe apparent.--Now, Mr. Schiller,
you see what my Thusnelda's real sentiments are, and how true she is to
her distant favorite."

"Much truer, probably, than he is to his former favorites," said
Göckhausen, smiling. "Men cannot be true; and I am satisfied that
Werther, if he had not shot himself prematurely, would subsequently
have consoled himself, although the adored Lotte was married, and
could never be his. Laugh on, duchess! I am right, nevertheless. Is
not Goethe himself an example of this? Did he not love Charlotte
von Kästner? If he had shot himself at that time, he could not have
consoled himself afterwards with Charlotte von Stein, to become
desperate once more, and finally to take a pleasant and consolatory
trip to Italy, instead of leaving the world. Truly, the Charlottes
are very dangerous to poets; but I would, however, advise each and
every one of them to beware of falling in love with a poet, for--how
forgetful I am! I beg your pardon, Madame von Kalb!"

"Why, my dear young lady?"

"Because I did not remember that you, too, were a Charlotte," murmured
the malicious maid of honor, meekly.

Von Kalb laughed, but she was more subdued and thoughtful after this
visit than usual. Her eyes often rested on Schiller with a peculiar,
inquiring look, and when he sat at her side on the sofa that evening,
she laid her hands gently on his shoulders and gazed intently into his
countenance.

"You love me, Schiller, do you not?"

"I love you, although you are a Charlotte. That is the question you
intended to ask, is it not?"

She smiled and laid her head on his shoulder. "Schiller, I would that
our union of heart and soul had already received its indissoluble
consecration. I would that my husband had already given his consent to
a separation and I were wholly yours."

"Are you not truly and wholly mine? Is not our union indissoluble? Does
not God, does not the whole world know that we are one and inseparable?
Does not society respect and treat our relation to each other with
consideration for both of us? The people with whom we come in contact
have the discretion to leave us when they observe that we wish to be
alone. Did not Von Einsiedel, who called on you this evening, leave
again when the servant told him that I was with you? Was not even the
Duchess Amelia so considerate as to invite us together yesterday; for
that she did so out of consideration for the relation existing between
us, Wieland told me.[33] You see, therefore, my dearest friend, that no
one doubts, or ignores our union."

"Why do you call me your dearest friend?" asked she, anxiously.

"Why? Because you are. Is it not your opinion, also, that friendship is
the highest power of love?"

She said yes, but she was very thoughtful after Schiller had gone. "I
would that my husband were here, and that the word of separation had
already been spoken!" she murmured.

Several months passed before her husband arrived in Weimar. Madame had
not been able to endure this uncertainty, this continued hypocrisy. She
had written to her husband, confessing her love and her relation to
Schiller, and begging him, as her best friend, to give her his advice
and to promote her happiness.

Her husband had replied at once as follows: "My dear friend, for the
very reason that I am, as you say, your best friend, I will treat your
letter as though I had not received it. It is obliterated from my
memory, and I only know that I love and esteem you as the mother of my
little boy, and that the dearest wish of my heart is your happiness.
Let us leave these little afflictions of the heart to time, the great
healer. I am coming to Weimar in a few months, and we shall then see
if time has not exercised its healing properties on yourself and on
the heart of an easily-excited poet. If this should not be the case,
however, and you should then repeat the words written in your letter,
it will still be time to see whether the desires of your heart can be
gratified without detriment to our son's interests. Let us, therefore,
postpone the decision for a few months."

He had also written to Schiller, but without any reference to
Charlotte's communications. His letter was full of quite hearty
sympathy, profound admiration for the poet, and earnest assurances of
friendship. He concluded by announcing that he would come to Weimar
in a few months, and that Schiller would find him ready to do him any
service, and to make any sacrifice for him that the poet could expect
at the hands of a friend.

Schiller folded the letter thoughtfully, and a glowing color suffused
itself over his cheeks. "He will come," said he to himself, in a low
voice. "It will be a strange meeting for me, I already blush with shame
when I think of it. He loves me, he calls me his friend, and yet he
knows all! Will I really have the courage to demand this sacrifice of
a friend, and--" asked he in a low voice--"and do I really so ardently
desire this sacrifice? I came here to seek consolation from a dear
friend, and I found love--love that has drawn me into the whirlpool of
passion. We are both being driven around in its eddying circles, and
who knows but that marriage is the sunken reef on which our hearts will
ultimately be shipwrecked. Save us from a violent end, thou Spirit of
the Universe; save me from such an end, thou genius of poetry; let me
fly to some peaceful haven where I can find safety from the storms of
life! There is a mystery in every human breast; it is given to God only
and to time, to solve it. Let us, therefore, wait and hope!"

When her husband arrived in Weimar a few months afterward, this mystery
seemed to have sunk deeper in Charlotte and Schiller's hearts; neither
of them had the courage to lift the veil and speak the decisive word.
Charlotte was paler and quieter than usual, and her eyes were often
stained with tears, but she did not complain and made no attempt to
bring her husband to an explanation.

Only once, when she held her little boy, who had just recovered from an
attack of illness, lovingly in her arms, her husband stepped up to her,
and gave her a kind, inquiring look:

"Could you ever make up your mind to leave this child, Charlotte--to
deliver it over to the care of a stranger."

"Never, no, never!" cried she, folding her arms tenderly around her
delicate little boy. "No, not for all the treasures--for all the
happiness earth can offer, could I part with my darling child!"

"And yet you would be compelled to do so, if you should lay aside the
name your child's father bears," said her husband, gently.

He made no explanation of his words, but his wife had well understood
him, and also understood his intention when, after a short interval,
he smilingly observed that he would now go to see Schiller, and take a
walk with his dear friend.

When her husband had left the room she looked down at the pale child,
who was slumbering in her arms. Tears gushed from her eyes, and she
folded her hands over her boy's head:

"Give us all peace, Thou who art the Spirit of Eternal Love! Give us
wisdom to discern truth and strength, to make any sacrifice in its
behalf!"

On the evening of this day, after a long walk which Schiller had
taken with Charlotte's husband, and during which they had conversed
on the highest intellectual topics only, Schiller wrote to his bosom
friend Körner, in Dresden: "Can you believe me when I assert, that
I find it almost impossible to write anything concerning Charlotte?
Nor can I even tell you why! The relation existing between us,
like revealed religion, is based on faith. The results of the long
experience and slow progress of the human mind are announced in the
latter in a mystical manner, because reason would have taken too long
a time to attain this end. The same is the case with Charlotte and
myself. We commenced with a premonition of the result, and must now
study and confirm our religion by the aid of reason. In the latter,
as in the former case, all the intervals of fanaticism, skepticism,
and superstition, have arisen, and it is to be hoped that we will
ultimately arrive at that reasonable faith that is the only assurance
of bliss. I think it likely that the germ of an enduring friendship
exists in us both, but it is still awaiting its development. There is
more unity in Charlotte's mind than in my own, although she is more
changeable in her humors and caprices. Solitude and a peculiar tendency
of her being have imprinted my image more firmly in her soul, than her
image could ever be imprinted in mine. Her husband treats me precisely
as of yore, although he is well aware of the relation existing between
us. I do not know that his presence will leave me as I am. I feel
that a change has taken place within me that may be still further
developed."[34]



CHAPTER VIII.

GOETHE AND MORITZ.


"Cheer up, my friend! Grumble no longer! Rejoice in life and throw
off the burden of your cares! Open your eyes and behold the beauties
of the world created by the Almighty Spirit of the Universe! We have
studied and worshipped the immortal gods and immortal arts in Rome--we
have been living with the ancients; now let us live for a few days with
eternal youth, with ever-fading, ever-blossoming Nature! Let us live
like God's children in His glorious world!"

It was Goethe who spoke these words--not Goethe, the secretary of
legation, who, at the end of the year 1786, had secretly withdrawn
from his friends, and even from his beloved Madame von Stein, and fled
to Italy, the land he so ardently desired to visit. No, it was not
that Goethe, who, during the last months of his sojourn in Weimar, had
eschewed his youthful exuberance of feeling, his exaggerated manner,
and his Werther costume, and had assumed the grave dignified air
which he deemed becoming in a high official! No, he who spoke these
words, was the poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, the poet who was once
more himself, now that he sojourned under Italy's glorious skies--the
poet whose soul glowed with enthusiasm, and on whose lips inspiration
trembled--the poet who sought the essence of the Divinity in the least
flower, and who saw the glory of his Maker reflected in the countenance
of each human being.

This Goethe it was who spoke these cheering, encouraging words. He
addressed them to Philip Moritz, with whom he had been living in Rome,
and other parts of Italy, for the last two years, and with whom he had
rejoiced and sorrowed in many pleasures and vicissitudes. They had
both come to Italy to make new men of themselves. Goethe, to become
himself again--to become the original, creative genius. Moritz, to heal
his heart-wounds, and refresh his mind with the wonders of art and
nature that abound for every man, who has eyes to see, in Italy--this
land of art and poetry. Philip Moritz had eyes to see, and the woman he
loved had begged him not to close them, not to shut out from his vision
the treasures which the God of creation and the gods of art had so
plentifully bestowed upon this favored land.

Marie von Leuthen was the woman of his love, and she it was who had
entreated him to go to Italy, that he might recover from the wounds
life had inflicted, his grief be healed, and hope restored to his heart.

"Go," she had said to him, "Italy and art will be a healing balm for
your wounds. Recover from them, and return after two years, renewed in
mind and constant in heart, and I will give you a joyful answer if you
then ask me if I love you."

Philip Moritz had journeyed to Italy as she bade him. On arriving in
Rome he learned that Goethe had been in the city for some time. Moritz
at once sought out his adored poet, and since then they had been
close comrades. He admired and worshipped Goethe, who tenderly loved
the friend (who was often so gloomy, and whose merriment was often
exaggerated), in spite of his peculiarities. Together they visited
the treasures of art in Rome; together they made excursions to the
neighboring villages and places of interest, on foot or on horseback,
as the case might be. On an excursion of this kind to Frascati, Moritz
had been thrown from his horse, and had his arm broken. Goethe had
nursed him like a brother; for long days and weeks he had been the
sufferer's only consoler and associate.

"I have just left Moritz," he wrote on one occasion to Madame von
Stein. "The bandages were to-day removed from his arm, and it appears
to be doing well. What I have experienced and learned at the bedside of
this sufferer, in the last two weeks, may be of benefit to us both in
the future. During this period he was perpetually alternating between
the greatest misery and the highest delight."[35]

This "greatest misery" the poor hypochondriac had borne in silence. The
"highest delight," he had shared with his happier friend, with Goethe,
the favorite of the gods.

In the autumn they had both left Rome, and gone out to Castel Gandolfo,
to pay a visit to the house of a hospitable friend. Many eminent poets
and artists were sojourning at this charming place at that time.
Gayety and merriment was the order of the day. It was in vain that
Goethe endeavored to draw his friend Moritz into this magic circle
of enjoyment. It grieved him deeply to see his friend brooding over
his studies, to see the sad and gloomy expression that rested on his
features. Goethe's entreaties and exhortations were at times successful
in arousing him from this condition; but, after a short interval of
forced gayety and mocking merriment, he would relapse into his ordinary
state of silent melancholy.

"Let us live as God's children in His glorious world!"

Moritz raised his pale countenance from the book over which he had been
brooding, and looked tenderly, and yet sadly, at Goethe.

"Happy, enviable man," said he. "But who can feel and think as you do?"

"You can, Moritz, if you only try," cried Goethe. "But, above all, tell
me what burden is resting on your soul, and what these wrinkles on my
friend's brow mean."

"They mean that I have a sad presentiment," replied Moritz, with
a sigh, as he threw his book aside and rose from his seat. "I am
angry with myself on this account, and I have sought to dispel this
presentiment, but all to no purpose! The skies of Italy are no longer
serene, the whole world seems like a huge grave; of late, even Rome's
works of art have appealed to me in vain; my ear has been deaf to their
sublime language."

[Illustration: GOETHE.]

"But, speak out, growler, monster," cried Goethe, impatiently, "what
northern spleen has again penetrated your northern heart? what is the
matter with you? What imps have taken up their abode in your brain?
What crickets are fiddling in your ears, and transforming the author,
the linguist, and the sage into a miserable, grief-stricken old woman,
who shuffles along through God's beautiful world, and burrows in the
ground like a mole, instead of soaring upwards to the sun like an
eagle?"

"Corpo di Bacco!" cried Moritz, striking the table so furiously with
his fists that he sent the books flying in every direction, and upset
the ink-bottle, flooding his papers with its black contents. "Corpo
di Bacco! Enough of your ridicule and abuse! How dare you call me a
miserable old woman, how dare you compare me with a mole? How dare
you make yourself merry over my northern heart? You, above all, whose
heart is a lump of ice, an extinguished coal, that even the breath of
a goddess would fail to enkindle! If one of us is an iceberg, it is
you, Mr. Johann Wolfgang Goethe! You are an iceberg, and your heart can
never thaw again, but will remain coffined in an eternal winter. What
do you know of the sufferings of a man who loves the fairest, the best,
and the noblest of women, and who, tormented by terrible forebodings of
her death, tears his own flesh with the serpent's tooth of care, and
who is blinded by his grief to all the beauties of God's world!"

"That is it," said Goethe, heartily, "then I have attained my object.
With the iron hammer of my abuse I have beaten on the anvil of your
obdurate temperament until I have made the sparks fly and kindle a
fire. That was all I desired, you overgrown, harmless child; I only
called you an old woman in order to awaken the man in you, and I now
beg your pardon a thousand times for this abuse. He who has seen
the old shrews that infest the neighborhood of St. Peter's, and has
suffered from their visitations in the Chiesa Maria della Pace, knows
how terrible a creature such an old fright is, and how offensive
it is to be compared to such a personage. I humbly beg your pardon,
Philip Moritz, professor, sage, connoisseur of art, and first-class
etymologist. But as for your presentiments and your fears that some
evil may have befallen your sweetheart, permit me to say that they are
only the vagaries of a lover who blows soap-bubbles into the air, and
afterward trembles lest they should fall on his head as cannon-balls.
Why, in the name of all the saints, do you give vent to your yearnings
in trumpet tones, and afterward consider them the death-song of your
love? Was it not agreed upon between you two lovesick children of
affliction that these two years of your sojourn in Italy should be a
trial of your love and fidelity? Was it not understood that you were
not to exchange a single letter during this period?"

"Yes, that was our agreement," replied Moritz. "Marie would have it
so; she wished to try me, to see whether I would remain faithful and
constant in love, even among the glories of Italy."

"Well, then! What is it that oppresses you? What do these lamentations
signify? What are you afraid of?"

"Do not laugh, Goethe," murmured Philip Moritz. "I will tell you, a
dream has tormented and alarmed me; a dream that has returned to me for
three successive nights. I see Marie lying on her couch at the point of
death, her cheeks pale and hollow, her eyes dim and fixed; old Trude
kneels at her side wringing her hands, and a voice cries in my ear in
heart-rending tones: 'Philip, my beloved Philip, come! Let me die in
your arms.' This is the dream that has haunted me for three nights;
these are the words that have each time awakened me from sleep, and
they still resound in my ear when I am fully aroused."

"Dreams amount to nothing," said Goethe, shrugging his shoulders, "and
your faith in them proves only that Cupid transforms even the most
sensible men into foolish children, and that the wanton god can make
even sages irrational."

"I would he made you so, you mocker at love and marriage," rejoined
Moritz, grimly. "I would like to see you a victim of this divine
madness. I trust that Cupid, whom you deride, will send an arrow into
your icy heart and melt it in the flames of infinite love-pains and
heaven-storming longings! I hope to see you, the sage who has fled from
all the living beauties, from all the living women here in Italy, as
though they were serpents of Eden--I hope to see you compelled by one
of them to eat of the apple, and experience the dire consequences! I
hope--"

"Hold, rash mortal!" said Goethe, interrupting him, with a smile.
"You know that children and fools often speak the truth, and that
their prophecies often become realities. It is to be hoped an all-kind
Providence will preserve me from a new love, from new flames. No,
the fires of love have been extinguished in my heart; in the warm
ashes of friendship that still remain, a spark may sometimes glimmer
sufficiently to enable me to read the name of my beloved friend,
Charlotte von Stein, engraven therein."

"Warm ashes of friendship, indeed!" observed Moritz, in mocking tones.
"A sorry tenant for the heart of the poet of Werther."

"Really," cried Goethe, "I believe this fellow would be capable of
imploring the gods to visit a 'Werthercade' upon me."

"I not only would be capable of doing so, but I really will do so,"
rejoined Moritz. "I entreat the gods to bless and curse you with a
heaven-storming, bliss-conferring and annihilating love, for that is
all that is wanting to drive the last vestiges of humanity out of you,
and make of you a demi-god with a halo of love-flames around your
semi-divine head. Yes, Wolfgang Goethe, poet by the grace of God, to
whom the immortal have vouchsafed the honor of creating an 'Iphigenia'
and an 'Egmont'--yes, I hope that a glowing, flaming, and distracting
love, may be visited upon you!"

"That you should not do," said Goethe, gently, "let me make a
confession, Moritz: I believe that I am not capable of such a love--am
not capable of losing my own individuality in that of another. I am
not capable of subjecting all other thoughts, wishes, and cravings, to
the one thought, wish, and craving of love. Perhaps this was at one
time my condition, perhaps my Werther spoke of my own life, and perhaps
this tragedy was written with the blood of my heart, then bleeding for
Charlotte Kästner. But you perceive that I did not shoot myself like
Werther. I have steeled my heart since then to enable it to rely on its
own strength, and to prevent its ever being carried away by the storm
of passion. I am proof against this, and will ever be so!"

"To be in Rome!" exclaimed Moritz, "in Rome, with a heart void of all
save the ashes of friendship for Charlotte von Stein, and to remain
cold and indifferent to the most beautiful women in the world!"

"That is not true, that is calumny!" said Goethe, smiling. "My heart
is not cold, but glows with admiration and love for the noblest and
loveliest woman, for the goddess of beauty, chastity, and virtue. She
was my first love in Rome, and will be my only love. I yearned for her
until she at last yielded to my entreaties, and took up her abode in my
poor house. Yes, I possess her, she is mine! No words can give an idea
of her, she is like one of Homer's songs!"[36]

"I would like to know," cried Moritz, in astonishment, "yes, really, I
would like to know of whom you are speaking!"

"I am speaking of her," said Goethe, pointing to a colossal bust of
the Juno Ludovisi, that stood on a high pedestal in a corner of the
room. He approached the pedestal, looked up into the proud and noble
countenance of the chaste goddess, and greeted her with a radiant smile.

"I greet you, mysterious goddess, on whose brow love and chastity
are enthroned! When I behold you I seem to hear words of revelation,
and I then know that you reflect all that the fancy of the poets,
the researches of the learned, and the piety of priests, ever
thought or depicted that is sublime and beautiful. You are the
blessing-dispensing Isis of the Egyptians, the Venus Aphrodite, and
Mother Mary, all in one, and I stand before you in pious awe, adoring,
loving and--"

"Holy Mary! Holy Januarius!" screamed a voice from the doorway, and a
woman, in the picturesque dress of an Italian peasant, rushed into the
room. "Signori, signori, a wonder, a miracle!"

"What do you mean, Signora Abazza?" asked Goethe, laughing, as Moritz,
alarmed by the old woman's screeching, withdrew hastily to the window
recess.

"What do I mean?" repeated the old woman, as she sank breathlessly into
a chair. "A miracle has occurred, Signori! My cat is praying to God the
Father!"

"How so, signora?" asked Goethe, while Moritz had abandoned his retreat
and was slowly approaching the old woman, curiosity depicted in his
countenance.

"I mean just what I say, signori! I went to your bedchamber to make
up the bed, and the cat accompanied me as usual. Suddenly I heard a
whining and mewing, and when I looked around, supposing she had hurt
herself in some way, I saw her--but come and look yourselves. It is a
miracle, signori! A miracle!" She sprang up, rushed to the door of the
bedchamber, opened it, looked in, and beckoned to the two friends to
approach. "Softly, softly, signori; do not disturb her!"

Goethe and Moritz walked noiselessly to the door, and looked into the
adjoining room. There, on the antiquated wardrobe, opposite Goethe's
bed, and illumined by the sunlight that poured in through the broad
window, stood the colossal bust of the almighty Jupiter. In front of
this bust, full of beauty and regal composure, stood Madame Abazza's
gray cat, upright on her hind feet. She had laid her forepaws on the
god's broad breast, and stretched her neck so that she could gaze into
his majestic countenance, and touch with her tongue the lips with their
godlike smile, and the beard with its curling locks. She kissed his
divine lips ardently, and zealously licked his curly beard, stopping
now and then to gaze for a moment at his royal countenance, and to
utter a tender, plaintive mew, and then renewing her attention to beard
and lips.

Goethe and Moritz looked on with smiling astonishment, the old woman
with pious dismay.

"Come to me, pussy," cried the signora at last; "come to me, my little
pet, I will give you some milk and sugar; come!"

But call and entreat as she would, the cat would not allow herself to
be disturbed in her devotions, not even when Goethe walked heavily
through the room and stepped up to the wardrobe. She continued to
kiss the god's lips and beard, and to utter her plaintive mews.
Signora Abazza, who was standing in the door-way, with folded hands,
now protested that the cat sang exactly like Father Ambrose when he
officiated at the morning mass, and that her heart, the signora's, was
filled with pious devotion.

"I must, however, bring this cat-mass to an end," cried Goethe,
laughing, "for if the cat continues her devotions much longer, another
miracle will take place: the divine locks will dissolve, and the
lips, so expressive of wisdom and majesty, will be nothing more than
shapeless plaster. Halloo! father cat, away with you! You shall not
transform the god into a lump of plaster!" With threatening tones and
gestures he frightened the cat down from the wardrobe, and drove her
out of the room. Goethe and his friend then returned to the parlor.

"Wonders are the order of the day," said Moritz, thoughtfully, "and we
are surrounded by a mysterious atmosphere of dreams and tokens."

"Only when we are dreamers," cried Goethe, laughing. "To the unbiassed
there is nothing miraculous, to them all things seem natural."

"How can you explain the cat's rapturous devotion?"

"In a very prosaic, pitiful manner," replied Goethe, smiling. "You
know, exalted dreamer, that this bust was moulded but a few days ago,
and you also know that grease was used to prevent the plaster from
adhering to the form. Some of this grease remained in the cavities
of the beard and lips; the cat's fine sense of smell detected its
presence, and she was endeavoring to lick it off."[37]

Philip Moritz raised his arms, and looked upward with comic pathos:
"Hear this mocker, this cold-hearted materialist, ye eternal, ye
sublime gods! punish the blasphemer who mocks at his own poetic genius;
punish him by filling his cold heart with a lost passionate love!
Cast down this proud poet in the dust, in order that he be made aware
that he is still a mortal in spite of his poetic renown, and that
he dare not attempt to hold himself aloof from human love and human
suffering!--Venus Aphrodite, pour out the lava streams of your passion
on this presumptuous poet, and--"

"Hold, hold!" cried Goethe, laughing, as he seized his friend's arms,
and forcibly drew them down. "You remind me of Thetis invoking the
wrath of the great Zeus upon the head of the son he believed to be
guilty, and to whom the god granted his cruel prayer."

"Signori, signori!" cried Signora Abazza from the outside.

"Come in, come in, signora! What is the matter this time?"

"Signore Zucchi has arrived from Rome with his divine signora,"
said the old woman, appearing in the doorway, "they inquired at the
post-office for your letters and papers, as they promised to do, and
here is the mail Signora Angelica has brought you."

Goethe hastily opened and examined the sealed package which she had
handed him. "Newspapers! newspapers!" exclaimed he, throwing the folded
papers on the table. "I am surrounded by living Nature, what care I for
lifeless newspapers."

"You will not read them?" said Moritz. "You have no desire to learn
what is taking place in the German empire, to learn whether the emperor
has undertaken another campaign against presumptuous Prussia or not?"

"No, I wish to know nothing of war," said Goethe, softly. "I am a child
of peace. I wish eternal peace to the whole world, now that I am at
peace with myself."[38]

"Then permit me, at least, to interest myself in these matters," said
Moritz, taking one of the papers from the table and opening it. With a
cry of joy Goethe picked up the three letters that fell to the floor.

"Two letters for me! A letter from my Charlotte, and one from my dear
friend, Herder! And here is a letter for you, friend Moritz."

"A letter for me!" said Moritz, clutching and hastily opening the
letter Goethe held in his extended hand. "Who can have written to me?"

"Read, my friend, and you will see. I will first read Herder's letter,
it probably contains his opinion of my 'Egmont,' which I sent him some
time ago."

He seated himself at the little table, opposite Moritz. Both were soon
busily reading, and Goethe was so completely absorbed in his letter
that he did not notice how pale Moritz had become, and how the letter
trembled in his hands; nor did he hear the deep sighs that escaped his
lips.

"I knew these fault-finders would not understand my Clärchen; they
demand another scene, explaining her relation to Egmont. Another scene!
Where am I to introduce it? Where?"

"Goethe," said Moritz, rising and handing the letter, which he had read
again and again, to his friend, "Goethe, read this, and then laugh at
my dreams and presentiments, if you can."

"What is it?" asked Goethe, looking up. "But what is the matter with
you, my friend? How pale you are, and how you tremble! Tears in your
eyes, too! Have you received bad news?"

"I have," groaned Moritz. "Marie is ill. Read!"

Goethe took the letter and hastily glanced over it. It was from
Professor Gedicke in Berlin; he announced that Marie Leuthen had been
ill for some time; that she had, at first, concealed her illness,
but now admitted it, and expressed an ardent desire to see Moritz.
The physician had given it as his opinion that a reunion with her
lover after so long a separation would have a beneficial effect on
his patient, and infuse new life into her being; it was therefore
considered desirable that Moritz should speedily return to Germany
and Berlin, to restore health and happiness to his beloved. "Strange,
truly strange!" said Goethe. "Your dream is being fulfilled, your
presentiment has become reality."

"Fearful reality!" groaned Moritz. "Marie will die, I shall not see her
again!"

"No, oh no," said Goethe, endeavoring to console him. "You take too
gloomy a view of things; your fancy conjures up horrible visions.
You will see her again. The magical influence of your presence, the
heavenly fire of your love, will save her. Women are generally such
sensitively constituted beings that all ordinary laws are set at
defiance when they love. They die of love, and they live on love. Marie
is ill because she longs to be with you; she will recover when she once
more beholds you, and reads love and fidelity in your countenance."

"Marie will die!" groaned Moritz. "God grant that I may, at least,
arrive in time to kiss the last death-sigh from her lips!"

"You are then about to take your departure? You will leave Italy and
return to Germany?"

Moritz shrugged his shoulders. "Truly, Goethe, in this question I see
that your heart is cold and loveless. I leave here within an hour!"

Goethe extended both hands, and his eyes shone with deep sympathy,
as he gazed lovingly into his friend's pale countenance. "Moritz, I
am not cold and not loveless. I understand you. I appreciate your
grief. I know that you must leave me, and must answer this call. Do
not misunderstand me, my friend, and when I subdue the holy flames,
that glow in your soul and my own, with the prose of every-day
life, remember that I have eaten much bitter fruit from the tree of
knowledge, and that I anxiously avoid being poisoned in that manner
again. But a blasphemer I am not, and be it far from me to desire to
shake your resolution. Love is the holy god who often determines our
thoughts and actions, and love it is that calls you! Go, my friend,
answer this call, and may love console and give you heavenly delight.
Go! I will assist you in getting ready! We will go to work at once! The
stage leaves here for Rome in a few hours, and you will arrive there in
time to take the mail-coach for Milan this evening."

Goethe assisted his friend in preparing for his departure with such
tender solicitude that Moritz's eyes filled with tears at the thought
of separation from his dear companion.

Angelica Kaufmann, the celebrated painter, who had now been married to
the artist, Tucchi, for some months, sent twice to her friend Goethe
inviting him to take a walk, but in vain. It was in vain that a merry
party of artists, who were sojourning in Castel Gandolfo, sang beneath
Goethe's window, and entreated him to join them in an excursion to the
mountains, where they proposed to draw, paint, and amuse themselves
till evening.

Goethe let them go without him and remained with his friend,
endeavoring to console and encourage him. When the trunk was entirely
packed, Goethe quietly slipped a well-filled purse into the tray,
hastily locked the trunk, and handed the key to Moritz. "All is now
ready, my friend. Listen how our friend, the stage-driver, is cracking
his whip and giving vent to his impatience, at the delay we have
caused, in his charming Italian oaths. We will promise him a gratuity,
as an incentive to make him drive rapidly, to ensure your arriving in
Rome in time for the mail-coach."

"May heaven grant that I arrive in Berlin in time to find Marie
still living! this is all I crave! You see life has made me humble
and modest; my life has been rich in misfortunes and poor in joys. I
found two beautiful blossoms on my journey: Marie's love and Goethe's
friendship. But I will lose them both; death will tread the one of
these blossoms under foot, and life the other."

Goethe laid his hand gently on Moritz's shoulder, and gazed into his
countenance in deep emotion. "What fate has determined concerning
the blossom of your love, that we must await with composure and
resignation, for death is an almighty king, before whom the haughtiest
head must bow in reverence. But the blossom of friendship which we have
so tenderly nurtured, and which has so often cheered and refreshed our
hearts--that blossom we will preserve and protect from all the storms
of life. You may be right in asserting that the flames of love are
extinguished in my heart, but the light of friendship is still burning
brightly there, and will only expire with my death. Be ever mindful of
this, and, although you suppose me to be a cold lover, you shall never
have cause to consider me a cold friend. Let this be our farewell; ever
bear this in mind."

"This thought will console and encourage," said Moritz, his eyes
filling with tears. "All that I have enjoyed in these last few years
that was good and beautiful, I owe to you, and have enjoyed with you
alone! Farewell, my Pylades! I feel that, like Orestes, I am being
pursued by Furies, and driven out into the world, to death and to
despair! Farewell, Goethe!"

They clasped each other in a long embrace, and then Goethe led his
friend down to the stage in silence. He gave the angry driver a
gratuity, and pressed his friend's hand warmly in a last farewell.



CHAPTER IX.

LEONORA.


Goethe stood for a long time on the steps in front of the house,
following with his gaze the departing stage, and listening to the
jingling of the little bells with which the horses were adorned. When
this also had finally become inaudible, Goethe turned slowly, a deep
sigh escaping his lips, and reëntered the house.

But his apartments seemed bare and solitary, and even the drawings and
paintings which had usually afforded him so much pleasure, were now
distasteful.

He impatiently threw brush and palette aside and arose. "This solitude
is unendurable," he murmured to himself, "I must seek company. I wish I
knew where my merry friends have gone, I would like to follow them and
take part in their merrymakings. But they will all have gone, not one
of them will have been misanthropical enough to remain at home. I shall
probably have to content myself with the society of Signora Abazza and
her cat."

With rapid strides he passed down the broad marble steps and out into
the garden. Here all was still and solitary. No human forms could be
seen in the long avenues, bordered on either side with dense evergreen.
No laughter or merry conversation resounded from the myrtle arbors.
In vain the wind shook down the ripe fruit from the orange trees, the
merry artists were not there who were in the habit of playing ball with
the golden fruit. In great dejection Goethe moved leisurely down the
avenue which led to the large pavilion, built on a little hill at the
end of the garden, and commanding a magnificent view of Lake Albano and
its wooded shores. Goethe walked slowly toward this point, regardless
of his surroundings of the marble statues that stood here and there in
niches hewn out of the dense evergreen, and of the murmuring of the
neighboring cascades. The study of Nature in all its details usually
afforded him great enjoyment. He sought out its mysteries as well in
mosses, flowers, and insects, as in the tall cypress, the eagle, and
the clouds. But to-day, Nature with all its beauties was unheeded by
the poet, he was thinking of his absent friend; the words of separation
still resounded in his ear. His mind was burdened with an anxious
feeling like a presentiment of coming evil.

But Goethe was not the man to allow himself to be weighed down by
sadness. He suddenly stood still, threw back the brown locks from his
brow with a violent movement of the head, and looked around defiantly.

"What misery do you wish to inflict on me, hollow-eyed Melancholy,"
cried he, angrily. "Where do you lie concealed? from behind which hedge
have you fastened your stony gaze on me? Away with you! I will have
nothing to do with you; you shall not lay your cold, damp hand on my
warm human heart. I will--"

He suddenly ceased speaking, and looked up at the pavilion,
astonishment depicted in his countenance. In the doorway of the
pavilion, facing the garden, stood two girlish figures. A ray of
sunshine penetrated the open window at the other end of the hall and
illumined this door-way, surrounding these figures as with a frame of
transparent gold, and encircling their heads with a halo of light.
The one was tall and slender; the dark complexion, the brown cheeks,
slightly tinged with crimson, the purple lips, the delicately-curved
nose, the large, sparkling black eyes, the glossy black hair, and
an inexpressible something in her whole appearance and expression,
betrayed the Roman maiden, the proud daughter of the Cæsars. The young
girl who stood at her side was entirely different in appearance.
She was not so tall, and yet she was as symmetrical in form as the
goddess ascending from the waves. Her light hair fell in a profusion
of ringlets around the brow of transparent whiteness, and down over
the delicate shoulders that were modestly veiled by her white muslin
dress. Her large black eyes were milder than, but not so luminous as,
those of her companion; her delicately-formed cheeks were of a rosier
hue; an innocent smile played about her purple lips, and illumined her
whole countenance. Her lovely head rested on her companion's shoulder,
and when she raised her right arm and laid it around her neck, the
loose sleeve fell back and disclosed an arm of dazzling whiteness and
rare beauty. They stood there in silence, surrounded by a halo of
sunshine, looking dreamily around at the garden with its variegated
autumnal hues.

At the foot of the hill on which the pavilion was situated, stood
Goethe, his countenance radiant with delight, feasting his eyes on this
charming picture.

"Apollo himself must have sent me this divine picture. I will engrave
it deeply on my heart, that it may some day find utterance in living,
breathing poetry. Ye are the fair ones of whom my soul has of late been
dreaming, whenever Torquato Tasso's image arose before my imagination.
I will make you both immortal, at least in so far as it is given to the
poet to make aught immortal. Apollo, I thank thee for this apparition!
These are my two princesses, my two Leonoras, and here stands Tasso,
looking up to them with enraptured adoration! But, O ye gods, harden my
heart against the flames of love, preserve me from Tasso's fate!"

"Signor Goethe!" exclaimed the Roman maiden, who had just perceived the
poet standing at the foot of the hill, as she stepped forward to the
head of the stone stairway that led up to the pavilion. She stood there
bowing her head in greeting, and beckoning to him to come up, while the
fair-haired girl remained in the door, smiling at her friend's eager
gestures.

"Come up, Signore; mother is in the pavilion, and a party of friends
will soon join us here; we shall then play and be merry."

"Yes, we shall play and be merry," cried Goethe, as he rushed up the
steps, and extended his hand to the fair friend who awaited him.

"A greeting to you, beautiful Amarilla, and many thanks for your kind
invitation." Signora Amarilla grasped his hand cordially, and then
turned to her friend, "Leonora--"

"Leonora!" repeated Goethe, startled, "the signora's name is Leonora?"

Signora Amarilla looked at him with astonishment. "Yes, Leonora. And
why not? Is this name so remarkable, so unheard of?"

"No, not exactly that, and yet it is a remarkable coincidence that--"

In her animation, Amarilla took no notice of the words Schiller had
murmured, but ran to the door, grasped her friend's hand, and led her
forward. The young girl seemed to follow her almost reluctantly; her
lovely eyes were cast down, and a brighter color diffused itself over
her cheeks.

"Leonora, this is the Signore Goethe, about whom I told you so much
this morning--the signore who lives in Rome, in the house adjoining
ours, on the Corso--the one to whom the artists recently gave the
magnificent serenade that was the talk of all Rome for three days. We
supposed the signore to be a rich Inglese, because he indulged in so
costly a pleasure, but he tells us that he is only a poor German poet;
this, however, I do not believe. But look up, Leonora! look at the
gentleman! He is an intimate acquaintance of mine, and I have already
told you so much about him."

While Signora Amarilla was laughing and speaking, with the unceasing
fluency of tongue peculiar to the ladies of Rome, Leonora stood at her
side, her eyes still cast down. Goethe's gaze was fixed immovably on
the beautiful vision before him. Did his ardent gaze, or his glowing
thoughts, exercise a magical influence over her? Slowly she raised her
head, and opened the large timid eyes, shaded with long black lashes,
and looked at Goethe. Their glances met, and both started; the hearts
of both beat higher. Her cheeks glowed, his turned pale. He felt as
though a whirlwind had arisen in his heart, and was carrying him he
knew not where, either heavenward or into an abyss. His head swam,
and he staggered back a step; she grasped her friend's hand, as if to
sustain herself.

Signora Amarilla had observed nothing of this mute greeting and
interchange of thought; she chatted away merrily.

"Now, Signore Goethe, permit me to introduce this young lady; you
will have great cause to be thankful for the honor conferred on you.
This is my dear friend Signora Leonora Bandetto. Her brother is the
confidential clerk in the business establishment of Mr. Jenkins. He was
very homesick, and longed to be with his family in Milan. As he could
not conveniently leave Rome, he begged that his sister Leonora might be
permitted to come on to live with him and take charge of his household.
The most beautiful daughter of Milan came to Rome in answer to this
appeal. I made her acquaintance at a party at Mr. Jenkins's, and we
became friends. We love each other tenderly, and I stormed Signore
Bandetto with entreaties until he consented to lend me his sister for a
few weeks. Leonora came to Castel Gandolfo to-day, and will spend two
weeks with us, two heavenly weeks. This is the whole story, and now let
us go into the pavilion."

She tripped gayly toward the door, leading her friend by the hand;
Goethe followed them slowly, his breast filled with strange emotions.

At the entrance they were received by Signora Amarilla's mother, who
was surrounded by a number of young ladies who had just arrived.
Several young gentlemen, artists and poets, soon joined the party; the
little pavilion was now the scene of great gayety. Laughter and jesting
resounded on all sides; and, finally, the game of lotto, the favorite
game of the Romans, and the occasion of this little gathering, was
commenced.

Poor Moritz, poor friend, who is journeying toward Rome in sadness, it
is well that you cannot look back at this scene! It is well that you
cannot see the friend for whom your heart is sorrowing, seated between
the two lovely women, between Amarilla and Leonora, laughing and
jesting with the former, but having eyes and thoughts for Leonora only!
It is well, poor Moritz, that you cannot see Goethe's eyes kindling
with rapture, and his countenance radiant with enthusiasm, as he laughs
and jests, the youngest among the young, the gayest among the gay!

It is now Signora Amarilla's turn to keep the bank. Goethe is her
partner; he divides his money and winnings with her, but the losses
he bears alone. The beautiful Amarilla's mother, who is seated in
front of them on the other side of the long table, looks on with great
content, laughs heartily at Signore Goethe's jokes, and rejoices at the
bank's success, because her daughter's little treasure increases. But
a change comes over her countenance, her dark eyes no longer sparkle
with delight. This change is evidently owing to the fact that Signore
Wolfgang Goethe has dissolved the partnership that existed between
himself and her daughter; he tendered his services as partner to
Leonora, and is accepted. Not being familiar with the game, she allows
Goethe to guide and direct her. She is fast losing her timidity, and is
already conversing quite gayly and confidentially with the signore who
eagerly gratifies all her little wishes.

The right to keep the bank now passed from Leonora to her neighbor.
Goethe, however, did not offer to be her partner too, but quietly
retained his place between the two lovely girls. While Amarilla, with
all the animation of her southern nature, gave her exclusive attention
to the game, while all the players were anxiously listening to the
numbers as they were called out, and covering them on their cards with
little squares of glass, Goethe sat leaning back in his chair, gazing
into the beautiful countenance of his neighbor, who no longer desired
to take part in the game, but preferred to cease playing, as she told
Goethe naively, rather than run the risk of losing the two scudi she
had already won.

"Signore, we must not tempt fortune," said she, as she raised the
little coins, which amounted to two scudi in value, in her delicate
little hands, and then let them fall one by one into her lap.
Unconscious of what she was doing, she continued to play with the
little bajocchi and paoli, raising and letting them fall again and
again into her lap.

Goethe smilingly regarded the beautiful hands as they toyed with the
little coins, and thought of Correggio's celebrated painting of Danaë
and the shower of gold. The thought occurred to him: "It is well that
the gods no longer roam the earth tempting innocence with such a
shower! Could this lovely child also have been ensnared by the shower
of gold?"

"You laugh, signore," said Leonora, looking earnestly at Goethe; "you
laugh, but it is, nevertheless, true! We must not tempt fortune; we are
sure to suffer when we confide in fortune."

"Is Fortuna so bad a goddess?" asked Goethe, smiling.

"Fortuna is no goddess," replied Leonora, earnestly; "Fortuna is a
demon, signore. She is the daughter of the tempter who spoke to the
mother of mankind in the garden of Eden. If we listen to her words and
allow ourselves to be ensnared by her allurements, our good thoughts
vanish, and we are led astray."

"You calumniate the noble goddess, signora. You are doubly unjust to
Fortuna; has she not smiled on you to-day, and are not your thoughts
good and innocent?"

"I, myself, am a proof that she is a temptress, a demon," said Leonora,
eagerly, but in a subdued voice. "I will tell you my thoughts, signore;
there is something in your eyes that compels me to confess the truth.
Listen, signore. When I, thanks to your good advice and skill, had won
the first few paoli, I rejoiced over my fortune and thought to myself:
'I will give these to Theresa, the old woman I see on the steps of
the Santa Marie della Pace, every morning when I attend mass at this
church.' Old Theresa invariably stretches out her withered, trembling
hand, and I am so rarely able to give her any thing, for my brother is
not rich, signore, and we are compelled to economize his earnings. It
always grieves me to have to pass by the poor woman without giving her
any thing. I rejoiced over the first few paoli I had won, calculating
that I could have them changed into copper coins and give Theresa one
each day for a whole week. At this moment you handed me a few more
paoli, telling me that I had already won an entire scudo. But what
followed! Old Theresa's image vanished from my heart; it occurred to me
that my brother had recently wished for a new cravat, and that I could
now purchase it with my scudo. You are laughing at me, signore, are you
not? You are right; it is very bold in me to impart my foolish, girlish
thoughts to so wise a gentleman as yourself."

"No, signora, I am not laughing at you," said Goethe, in such tender
tones that she looked up in surprise and listened attentively, as
though his words were sweet music. "I was only amused because your
own words rebutted your accusations against Fortuna. The goddess has
awakened good thoughts only in your bosom!"

"But I have not yet finished, signore! Only wait a little! My old
beggar-woman was forgotten, and I had determined to devote my scudo
to the purchase of the silk cravat for my brother. But I won, again
and again, and you poured the little paoli into my hand, and observed
laughingly: you are now rich, signora, for you have already won more
than two scudi! Your words startled me; I now heard a tempting voice
whispering in my breast: 'Play on, Leonora; play on. Win one more
scudo, and then you will have enough to buy the coral earrings you
recently admired so much, but were unable to buy. Play on, Leonora;
win money enough to purchase this jewelry.' I was about to continue
playing, thinking neither of the old woman nor of my brother, but
only of my own desires. But I suddenly remembered the last words my
confessor, Father Ignatio, had spoken to me in Milan when I took leave
of him. He said: 'My child, when you hear the tempter's voice, pray
for strength to resist his allurements;' and I did pray, signore. While
we were praying, I vowed to the holy virgin that I would not purchase
the jewelry, but would expend my scudi for my brother and my poor old
Theresa only. I will keep my vow. Now you will admit that Fortuna is a
demon, a daughter of the temptress who spoke to our mother Eve, and was
the cause of the expulsion of mankind from Paradise, will you not?"

Goethe did not reply; with an inward tremor that was inexplicable to
himself, he gazed at the lovely being whose cheeks were flushed with
animation, and whose countenance shone with the holy light of purity
and innocence. Her sweet voice still rang in his ear after she had
ceased speaking.

"Confess, signore!" repeated Leonora, eagerly.

Goethe gave her a look of infinite mildness and tenderness. "Signora,
you, at least, are still in Paradise, and may the avenging angel
with the flaming sword never touch the pure brow which the angel of
innocence has kissed and sanctified."

"We have finished, the game is at an end!" cried the imperious voice
of Amarilla's mother. In the bustle which ensued, Leonora, who was
listening breathlessly, failed to catch the words which Goethe added in
a low tone.

The company had arisen from the table, and formed little groups in
various parts of the pavilion. Goethe had stepped to an open window
and was looking out at the lake, that glittered in the last rays of
the setting sun. Suddenly a hand was laid heavily on his shoulder;
he slowly turned and saw Signora Frezzi, Amarilla's mother, standing
at his side. Her countenance was grave, her brow clouded, and the
accustomed smile was wanting on her lips.

"Signore Goethe, you are a stranger, and are, of course, not familiar
with the usages of our favored land," said she, in subdued, reproachful
tones.

"Have I sinned, signora?" asked he, gayly. "Have I been guilty of an
impropriety?"

"Yes, signore, you have, and as Amarilla's mother, I must say that I
cannot suffer the innocent child to be affronted."

"But, signora," he asked, in alarm, "how can I have affronted your
daughter?"

"I will tell you, signore. You have known my daughter since your
concert in Rome, and, when we met here in Castel Gandolfo a week ago,
you showed a disposition to cultivate her acquaintance. Since then
you have been her companion on all our walks and excursions. It is
recognized as your right by all our friends and acquaintances, and no
one would dream of attempting to take your place at her side. It is a
good old custom for each young lady and gentleman to select a special
friend during their summer sojourn in the country. It binds the young
lady and gentleman who have associated themselves in this manner, to
the most enduring and delicate attentions to each other until they
return to Rome, when, of course, all obligation ceases."

"What impropriety have I committed?"

"This impropriety, signore: for the last week you have been recognized
by every one as the _amico_ of my daughter, and now, when you have
scarcely made the acquaintance of her friend Leonora, you transfer the
attentions hitherto shown to my daughter to this young lady. This is
not proper, signore, and I must request you--"

"I have a request to make of you first, signora," said Goethe,
interrupting her in severe and imperious tones. "I must request you
not to forget that I am a stranger, and cannot give up the customs and
usages of my own country. In Germany it is customary for gentlemen
to be polite to all ladies. This, it seems to me, is better and more
agreeable than to show exclusive attention and devotion to _one_ lady
to the neglect of all others. You will have to permit me to pursue the
course I deem the most proper."

He left her side, and walked through the pavilion to the bay-window
in which the two young ladies were standing. They both smiled as he
approached. Amarilla had just broken off a twig of blooming myrtle
from the vine that clung to the lattice-work of the pavilion, and was
fastening it in Leonora's hair. She pointed proudly to her friend:

"See how beautiful she is, signore! Does she not look like the goddess
of love with the flowers of love in her hair?"

Leonora blushed and turned her head hastily toward the open window. The
myrtle fell from her hair to the floor, at Goethe's feet. He stooped
down and picked it up. His heart beat tumultuously, and a feeling
of wondrous delight ran through his whole being as he handed it to
Amarilla to be replaced in Leonora's hair.

"How long will it be," said Amarilla, smiling, as she again fastened
the myrtle in her friend's hair; "how long will it be before I adorn
this golden hair with a real bridal wreath!"

She looked smilingly at Goethe as she uttered these words, and this
look made his heart quake. How composed this heart had hitherto been
since his sojourn in Italy! How carefully had Goethe avoided awakening
it from this state of dreamy repose! How sedulously had he avoided
women, living only for art and nature! Now, when he hardly knew that he
had a heart, it suddenly beat tumultuously, and filled his breast with
all the sweet sensations and stormy desires of former days!

He was so astonished and bewildered by this revelation, that he was
unable to take part in the conversation going on around him, or to
appear indifferent to this charming girl. He left the pavilion and
sought out the most solitary part of the park, where he walked to and
fro for hours, listening to the sweet voices that were whispering in
his soul. He smiled when he remembered how Moritz had entreated the
gods to melt his icy heart; his friend's wish was being gratified in a
charming manner!

"I thank you, ye eternal gods, for having accorded me this highest
revelation of poetry here in Italy; I thank you for having enkindled in
my heart the holy flames of love. I laughed at you, Venus Aphrodite,
and you are punishing the sinner with your sweetest wrath; you are
permitting him to feel that undying youth is still glowing in his
bosom. For love is eternal youth, and I love! Yes, I love!"

It was late at night, and his friends had long since retired to rest,
but Goethe was still walking to and fro in the gloomy avenues of the
park--in the avenues in which the pious fathers of the order of the
holy Ignatius had formerly wandered, forming plans to divert the power
and glory of the whole world into their hands.

The palace that now belonged to the wealthy Mr. Jenkins had formerly
been the summer residence of the general of this order. The monastery
was situated at the other end of the park. Pope Urban had once walked
arm in arm with his friend the Jesuit general in these avenues, and
together they had considered how they were to subjugate princes and
nations, and make themselves masters of the world.

Goethe thought of this as he stepped into the main avenue, and saw
before him the grand old palace.

"Truly," murmured he, "this is the work of the holy fathers. They have
thrown a Jesuit's cloak over the mischievous god. In this disguise,
he has dogged my footsteps, and, while I fondly believed myself to be
conversing with an honest priest on learned topics, this impudent knave
has so bewitched me that I have abjured all wisdom, and am about to
become a fool among fools."

"But what is to come of this, you fool?" asked he of himself. "Where is
your love for this beautiful child to lead you?"

He listened, as if expecting an answer from the night wind that rustled
by. He looked up at the moon, to see if a solution of this mystery of
the future could be found in its shining countenance. In his heart the
mocking words of his own song were all the while ringing, singing, and
laughing in low tones:

    "Heirathen, Kind, ist wunderlich Wort,
    Hör' ich's, möcht ich gleich wieder fort!"[39]

He repeated these words again and again, as he slowly walked toward
the house, endeavoring to convince himself that they embodied his
own sentiments. But the moonbeams are strange sorcerers; over the
glittering waters of the murmuring cascades, and in every open
myrtle-blossom, he saw the countenance of a lovely girl, who seemed
to greet him with her dark, starlike eyes, and whose golden hair
encompassed her angel countenance as with a halo of beauty and
innocence.

Goethe smiled, and whispered the following lines of the same song:

    "Heirathen wir eben,
    Das übrige wird sich geben!"[40]



CHAPTER X.

A DREAM OF LOVE.


Strong and mighty, harnessed, and full of life, as Minerva had sprung
forth from the head of Jupiter, had love suddenly arisen in Goethe's
heart. A single day had awakened it, a single night had sufficed to
make it strong, mighty, and confident of victory.

When Goethe, after having passed a night of delightful dreams, left
his apartments on the following morning, and repaired to the large
saloon in which the Jesuit general had formerly entertained his devout
guests, and in which merry artists and men of the world, and joyous and
beautiful women, were now in the habit of assembling, his countenance
wore a glad smile. He had bravely resolved to permit himself to be
borne onward on the seething, silver waves of feeling, regardless of
whither they tended--satisfied that they would bear him to some one of
the enchanted isles of bliss, on the fragrant shores of which two white
arms would embrace him, and two radiant eyes would whisper wondrous
music in his listening heart.

He was alone in the large room. The artists had returned at a late hour
from their excursion of the previous day, and had not yet left their
apartments. Angelica Kaufmann, who, with her husband, the old painter
Zucchi, was always the first to take her seat at the breakfast-table,
had to-day sent down word that she was tormented with headache, and
would breakfast in her apartments. Signora Frezzi avoided the parlor,
because she did not desire to meet Goethe, whose abrupt behavior of the
day before had offended her.

The newspapers that had arrived yesterday were lying around on the
little tables. Goethe seated himself at one of these tables, and opened
one of the large English papers which are so great a solace to the
blue-eyed daughters of Albion.

Two joyous, girlish voices interrupted his reading, causing him to
throw his paper hastily aside, and sending the hot blood to his cheeks.

The voices were those of Amarilla and Leonora, who had come from the
park, and now entered the parlor. They were attired in simple morning
dresses, and looked charming with their fresh, rosy cheeks, and the
blossoming sprigs of pomegranate in their waving hair.

Amarilla's quick, roving eye detected Goethe first, and she uttered a
joyous greeting as she hurried forward with extended hands.

Leonora stood at a distance, but her smiling lips and the timid glance
of her large eyes were more eloquent than Amarilla's words could
possibly be.

He stepped forward and extended his hand to Leonora, and, when she
laid her little hand in his, timidly, and yet with an expression of
childlike confidence, his soul exulted, his heart overflowed with joy,
and his countenance beamed with delight.

Amarilla did not observe this, as she was busily engaged in pouring
out the coffee at one of the tables. Leonora turned pale under Goethe's
glances, blushed, and then turned pale again, and withdrew her hand
with a quick, convulsive movement. She slowly raised her eyes, and
looked at Goethe so reproachfully, so anxiously, that a tremor of joy
and emotion ran through his whole being.

"Be firm, my heart, do not yield so soon to this sweet enchantment!
First inhale the fragrance of this purple blossom which we call love,
before you pluck it and press it to your heart. Be firm, and enjoy the
pure delight of the dawning sunlight!"

She glided slowly from his side, and now, when she stood at the table
assisting Amarilla, her anxious look vanished; the timid little dove
felt safe under the protecting wing of the older and stronger dove; she
had instinctively heard the rustle of the falcon's wings, but now that
she was at the side of her sister dove she no longer feared.

Leonora smiled again, took part in the merry conversation which
Amarilla had begun with Signore Wolfgang, and seated herself at his
side at the breakfast-table, which Amarilla had arranged for the three.
It was a beautiful morning; the fresh breeze wafted clouds of fragrance
into the room through the broad, open glass doors; the rustling of
the orange and myrtle trees, and the murmuring and plashing of the
cascades, greeted the ear like soft music.

To Goethe, the two lovely girls between whom he sat seemed as bright
and fair as the morning. Their ingenuous conversation seemed to him
more charming and instructive than any conversation he had ever had
with the most intellectual women, or the greatest scholars on the most
profound subjects.

His attention was, however, chiefly directed to the fair daughter of
Milan, the maiden with the light hair, dark eyes, and the delicate,
transparent cheeks--the maiden, whose countenance was but the mirror
of her soul, the mirror in which her every thought and impulse was
reflected.

Amarilla had taken one of the English newspapers, had folded it into a
cap in imitation of the _fazzoletta_ of the Albanian peasant-women, and
placed it jauntily on her pretty head. She was dancing around in the
room, and singing in a low voice to the melody of the tarantella, one
of those little love-ditties which gush so harmoniously from the lips
of Italian maidens.

"She flies about like the bee, sipping sweets from every blossom, and
fancies the world a vast flower-garden, created only for her delight."

"Are you of that opinion, beautiful Leonora?" asked Goethe, with a
tender glance.

She shook her head slowly. "No," said she; "I know that both the bee
and the flower are of but little importance in the great economy of
the universe. I often think," she continued, in a low voice, and with
a charmingly thoughtful air, "I often think that we poor, simple girls
are nothing more in the sight of God than the bee and flower, and that
it is immaterial whether we live or die."

"You have too poor an opinion of yourselves," said Goethe, in low and
impassioned tones. "You do not know that the Almighty sometimes takes
pity on men, and sends an angel of innocence, grace, and beauty, to
console the human soul and refresh the human heart. You do not know
that you are such an angel to me!"

She shook her lovely little head dissentingly. "I only know, signore,
that I am a poor ignorant girl, and that I often long to cast off my
stupidity, and be able to understand what wise men say. It is, however,
not altogether my own fault that I am so stupid, that--"

"You are unjust to yourself," cried Goethe, interrupting her; "you
should not confound the divine ignorance of innocence with stupidity."

"I speak the truth only," rejoined Leonora; "and you see that I am
attempting to excuse myself by telling you that it is not wholly
our own fault that we are so foolish and ignorant. Our parents and
instructors, in their anxiety for our welfare, fear to open our eyes,
believing it best that a girl should learn and know nothing. They do
not teach us to write, because they fear that we would do nothing but
write love-letters; nor would they teach us to read, if it were not to
enable us to use our prayer-books. We are scarcely taught to express
ourselves well in our own language; and it occurs to none to have us
instructed in foreign languages, and give us access to the books of the
world."[41]

"Would you like to be able to read in these books of the world,
Leonora?"

"I would give all I possess to learn English! Whenever I hear Mr.
Jenkins and my brother, or Madame Zucchi and her husband, conversing
in English, it makes me feel sad, and a feeling of envy comes over me
that I never experience at other times. See, Signore, Amarilla has made
a _fazzoletta_ from one of these large English papers, and is skipping
around with it on her head, while I--I would give every thing to be
able to read and understand what is written in the papers, which I know
bring us intelligence from the whole world."

"You say you would give every thing to be able to read these papers?
What will you give me if I teach you how to do so?"

"Do teach me," she cried, clapping her little hands joyfully; "oh, do
teach me! I will be so thankful, so very thankful! You will make me so
happy, and I know that you are noble and generous, and will find your
best reward in having made a poor ignorant girl happy."

"Do you, then, really believe me to be so disinterested, signora?"
asked Goethe, gazing earnestly into her animated countenance. "No,
Leonora, you are mistaken in me! I am not so godlike as you suppose!"

At this moment the ringing tones of Amarilla's voice were wafted in
from the terrace. She was singing to the charming air so well known
to every Italian maiden and youth, and so familiar even to the orange
groves and flowers, because they have so often heard it resounding
from the cooing, exulting lips of lovers:

    "Io ti voglio ben' assai
    Ma tu non pens' a me!"

Alarmed by the impassioned tones of Goethe's voice, Leonora turned
her head quickly toward the terrace. She smiled when she saw Amarilla
skipping about from tree to tree, singing like a humming-bird, as she
plucked a blossom or a sprig here and there, and arranged them into a
bouquet.

"See, signore," whispered Leonora as she raised her delicate little
hand and pointed to her friend. "I told you before that we were not
taught how to write, for fear that we would write love-letters.
See what we poor ignorant girls resort to when we wish to write a
love-letter. Instead of using the letters of the alphabet we take
flowers, that is the whole difference."

"Do you mean to say that Amarilla is writing a love-letter with her
flowers?"

"Be still, do not betray her, signore. Look down, that no profane
glance may desecrate the letters which God and the sun have created!"

"But I may look at that young man who is stealing out from behind the
evergreen-hedge, may I not?"

"Of what young man are you speaking?" asked Leonora, in alarm.

"Of the young Comaccini, who is cautiously peering through those
bushes, and for whom the fragrant love-letter, which Amarilla holds
aloft so triumphantly, is probably intended."

"No, do not look that way, signore," cried Leonora, with an air of
confusion, as she hastily took one of the papers from the table and
handed it to Goethe.

"You said you would teach me to read these papers, to make out these
difficult English words. Please do so, signore. I will be a very
thankful scholar!"

Goethe smiled as he took the paper and unfolded it. He had laid his
left arm on the back of the chair, in which Leonora sat; with his
right hand he held the paper before her lovely countenance. He began to
read and translate, word for word, the passage at which her rosy finger
pointed. She listened with breathless attention, utterly unconscious
that their heads were side by side, that her cheeks almost touched his,
and that her fair, fragrant hair was intermingled with his brown locks.
Her whole soul was filled with the determination to impress each word
that Goethe uttered indelibly on her mind. Her glances flew like busy
bees from the paper to his lips, unconscious that they bore a sting
which was infusing sweet poison into the heart of her zealous teacher.

To be the teacher of a beautiful young girl is a dangerous office for
a man who is young, and impetuous, and whose heart is not preoccupied.
To read out of one book, cheek by jowl, so near to each other that
the breath of his lips is mingled with hers, and that he can hear her
heart's quick throbs--when has a woman done this with impunity, unless
it was her lover or her husband with whom she was reading! Francesca da
Rimini would not have been murdered by her jealous husband, if she had
not read Launcelot with her handsome brother-in-law Paolo Malatesta.

    "One day we were reading for our delight,
    Of Launcelot, how love did him enthrall;
    Alone we were and without any fear,
    Full many a time our eyes together drew,
    That reading, and drove the color from our faces;
    But one point only was it that o'ercame us,
    When as we read of the much longed-for smile,
    Being by such a noble lover kissed,
    This one, who ne'er from me shall be divided,
    Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating.
    Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it,
    That day no further did we read therein."[42]

They too were reading for their delight, and were alone without any
fear.

Amarilla sang and danced about on the terrace, and paid no attention
to the two who were sitting so close together and studying the English
newspaper so earnestly. The passage at which Leonora pointed, chanced
to be the simple, touching history of a young man and a girl who
loved each other devotedly, but could not be united because the man
was already married. The girl, unable to conquer her love, and yet
tormented with remorse and anguish, had buried her love and her sorrows
in the dark waters of the Thames. Her lover poisoned himself when he
learned the sad intelligence, leaving a letter, in which he begged that
they might be permitted to rest in one grave.

Leonora's attention was so entirely absorbed in the translation of the
separate words that the meaning of what they were reading escaped her.
In breathless excitement she listened to the words of glowing passion
that fell from her teacher's lips, and stored them away in her memory,
as newly-acquired precious treasures. She cried out with delight,
when, after they had translated the passage for the second time,
she succeeded in comprehending its meaning, and could render whole
sentences and periods in her own language. She was so beautiful in her
innocent joy, her countenance was so animated, her eyes so radiant,
the smile on her lips was so charming, that a tremor of delight ran
through Goethe's being as he gazed at the fair creature. He said to
himself that it must be enchanting to open the treasures of knowledge
to this charming child of Nature, and to learn from her while giving
her instruction.

They were still absorbed in the English lesson, and did not observe
that the door was noiselessly opened, and that a young man with a merry
countenance and bright smile appeared on the threshold. But, when he
saw the two, seated side by side, shoulder to shoulder, cheek to cheek,
she gazing fixedly at the paper, he regarding her with an expression
of passionate tenderness--when the young man saw this, his merry
expression vanished, and he cast a look of anger and hatred towards the
readers. Leonora had just succeeded in translating the whole narrative,
unassisted by her teacher, and now uttered the concluding words in a
loud voice: "They found it sweeter to die in love than to live without
love!" The pale young man with the angry countenance slowly withdrew,
closing the door as noiselessly as he had before opened it. They
observed nothing of this, and continued reading until a number of their
friends and acquaintances entered the room, when they laid the paper
aside, with a sigh and a mutual look of regret and tenderness.

The servants now appeared and were soon hastily engaged in preparing
the breakfast table for the numerous guests who were sojourning in
the house. Angelica Kaufmann, who had just entered the room on Mr.
Jenkins's arm, stepped forward and greeted Goethe, cordially, mildly
reproaching him with having neglected and forgotten her.

Goethe replied to this reproach, but not in his usual gay and
unrestrained manner, and her keen glance detected a change in his
countenance.

"One of the muses or goddesses of Olympus has paid you a visit this
morning," said she. "Her kiss is still burning on your cheeks, and the
heavenly fire is still flaming in your eyes. Tell me, my friend, which
muse or which goddess was it that kissed you?"

"Why must it have been an immortal woman, Angelica?" asked Goethe,
laughing.

"Because no mortal woman can touch your hard heart. You know your
friend Moritz always called you the polar bear, and maintained that you
had an iceberg in your breast instead of a heart. He was right, was he
not?"

"Woe is me, if he was not, but is to be!" sighed Goethe, thinking of
the dire visitation Moritz had called down upon his head.

Breakfast was announced, and the guests began to seat themselves at
the table. The place of honor was generally conceded to be at Goethe's
side, Mr. Jenkins therefore requested Angelica Kaufmann to take the
seat on Goethe's right hand. While he was looking around, considering
to whom he should accord the second place of honor on Goethe's left,
Leonora stepped forward and quietly seated herself in the coveted place
at her instructor's side.

"I cannot separate myself from you, maestro," said she, smiling. "You
must repeat, and explain to me, a few words of our lesson. Only think,
I have already forgotten the sentence which commences: 'Sweet it is to
die in love.'"

Angelica's astonished look convinced Goethe that she had heard these
words, and this confused him. His embarrassed manner, when he replied
to Leonora, betrayed to Angelica the mystery of his sudden change of
color when she had first spoken to him on entering the room. "I was
mistaken," said she, in a low voice, and with her soft smile, "it was
not a goddess or a muse who visited you. The god of gods himself has
kissed your heart and opened your eyes that you might see."

Yes, these flaming eyes did see, and love had softened the poet's hard
heart with kisses. His soul was filled with rapture as in the days
of his first boyish love; every thing seemed changed--seemed to have
become brighter and fairer. When he walked in the park with his friends
after breakfast it seemed to him that his feet no longer touched the
earth, but that his head pierced the heavens, and that he beheld the
splendor of the sun and the lustre of the stars. He had gone to the
pavilion, where he had first seen Leonora, hoping to find her there
now. Amarilla had drawn her aside, after breakfast, and whispered a
few words in her ear. Goethe had seen her shudder, turn pale, and
reluctantly follow her friend from the room. He hoped to find her in
the pavilion. She was, however, not there; a few groups of ladies and
gentlemen were standing at the open windows, looking at the beautiful
landscape.

Goethe stepped up to one of these windows and gazed out at the lovely
lake with its rippling waves and wooded banks. It had never before
looked so beautiful. He did not view this picture with the eye of an
artist, who desires to reproduce what be sees in oil or aquarelle,
but with the eye of an enraptured mortal, before whom a new world is
suddenly unfolded, a world of beauty and of love.[43]

Suddenly he heard Amarilla's merry, laughing voice, and his heart told
him that she also was near--she, the adored Leonora! Goethe turned
towards the entrance. Yes, there was Leonora; there she stood on the
threshold, at her side a young man, with whom she was conversing in low
and eager tones.

"Here you are, Signore Goethe," cried Amarilla, stepping forward. "We
have been looking for you everywhere, we--"

"Signora," said Goethe, interrupting her, and laying his hand gently
on her arm, "pray tell me who that young man is with whom your friend
Leonora is so eagerly conversing?"

"We have been looking for you to tell you this, and to make you
acquainted with young Matteo. He has come to tell Leonora that the
rich old uncle whose only heir he is, has suddenly died, and that no
impediment to his marriage now exists."

"What does it concern your friend whether this Mr. Matteo has grown
rich, and can now marry or not?"

"What does it concern her?" said Amarilla, laughing. "Well, I should
think it concerned her a great deal, as she is betrothed to this Mr.
Matteo, and their marriage is to take place in a week."

Not a muscle of his face quivered, not a look betrayed his anguish. He
turned to the window, and stared out at the landscape which had before
shone so lustrously in the bright sunlight. How changed! All was now
night and darkness; a film had gathered over his eyes.

While he stood there, immovable, transfixed with dismay, he observed
nothing of the little drama that was going on behind him; he did not
feel the earnest gaze of the two pairs of eyes that were fastened on
him: the eyes of Leonora, with tender sympathy; the eyes of the young
man, with intense hatred.

"I saw him turn pale and shudder," hissed Matteo in Leonora's ear. "It
startled him to hear that you were my betrothed. It seems that you have
carefully concealed the fact that you were my affianced, and about to
become my bride?"

"I have not concealed it, Matteo, I had only forgotten it."

"A tender sweetheart, truly, who forgets her betrothal as soon as
another, perhaps a handsomer man, makes his appearance."

"Ah, Matteo," whispered she, tears gushing from her eyes, "you do me
injustice!"

He saw these tears and they made him furious. "Come now, and introduce
me to this handsome signore," commanded Matteo, grimly; "tell him, in
my presence, that our marriage is to come off in a week. But if you
shed a single tear while telling him this, I will murder him, and--"

"Step aside, signore, if you please," said a voice behind him; "step
aside, and permit me to pass through the door-way."

The voice was cold and composed, as was also the gaze which Goethe
fastened on the young man. He did not even glance at Leonora; he had
no words for the fair-haired girl, who looked up into his countenance
so timidly and so anxiously. He passed out into the open air, down the
steps and into the garden, leaving behind him her who but yesterday had
seemed to him as the dawn of a new day, the glorious sunshine of a new
youth--her, who to-day had cast a pall over his soul, and had cried
into his sorrowing, quivering heart the last adieu of departing youth.

He passed the confines of the park, strode rapidly into the forest
and sought out its densest solitude. There, where the stillness
was unbroken, save by the rustling of trees and the dreamy song of
birds--there he threw himself on a bed of moss, and uttered a cry, a
single, fearful cry, that made the forest ring, and betrayed to God and
Nature the mystery of the anguish of a noble, human heart, that was
struggling with, but had not yet overcome, its agony.

Goethe did not return home from the forest until late in the evening.
He retired to his room and locked himself in, desiring to see no
one, to speak to no one, until he had subdued the demons that were
whispering words of wild derision and mocking despair in his heart. He
would not be the slave of passion. No one should see him until he had
mastered his agony. Early the next morning he again wandered forth into
the forest with his portfolio under his arm; leaving a message at the
house for his friends to the effect that they must not expect him back
to dinner, as he had gone out to draw, and would not return till late
in the evening.

His friends, and _she_ above all, should not know what he suffered!
The forest is discreet, the trees will not betray the poor child of
humanity who lies at their feet struggling with his own heart.

"I will not suffer, I will not bear the yoke! Did I come to Rome for
any such purpose? did I come here to see my peace and tranquillity of
mind burn like dry straw, under the kindling glances of a beautiful
girl? No! I will not suffer! Pain shall have no power over me! It will
and shall be conquered! Away with you, hollow-eyed monster! I will
tread you under foot, will grind you in the dust as I would an adder!"

He sprang up from his bed of moss, and stamped on the ground,
furiously. He then walked on deeper into the forest, compelling himself
to be calm, and to contemplate Nature.

"Goethe, I command you to be calm," cried he, in stentorian tones. "I
will collect buds and mosses, and choose butterflies and insects. Help
me, Spirit of Nature! aid me, benign mother. Give me peace, peace!"

With firmer tread, his head proudly erect, he walked on in the silent
forest, still murmuring from time to time: "I will have peace, peace!"

While Goethe was struggling with his heart, in the depths of the
forest, and striving to be at peace with himself, another heart was
undergoing the same ordeal, in silence and solitude. The heart of a
tender, young girl, who hoped to attain by prayer what the strong man
was determined to achieve by the power of his will.

She did not even know what it was that had so suddenly darkened her
heart; she only felt that a change had taken place--that she was
transformed into another being. An unaccountable feeling of anxiety
had come over her--a restlessness that drove her from place to place,
through the long avenues of the park, in search of solitude. She only
asked herself this: What had she done to cause Signore Goethe to avoid
her so studiously? Why had he left the house so early in the morning,
and returned so late in the evening, for the past three days? Why was
it that he conversed gayly with others when he returned in the evening,
but had neither word nor look for her?

These questions gave her no rest; they tormented her throughout the
entire day. "What wrong have I done him? Why is he angry with me? Why
does he avoid me?" She sat in the pavilion repeating the questions that
had made her miserable for the last three days, when suddenly Matteo,
who had followed her, stepped forward and regarded her with such anger
and hatred that she trembled under his glance like the dove under the
claws of the falcon.

"What is the matter with you, Leonora?" he asked, gruffly. "Why are you
weeping?"

"I do not know, Matteo," murmured Leonora. "Please be patient with me,
it will soon pass away."

He laughed derisively. "You do not know! Then let me tell you. You have
no honor! You have no fidelity! You are a vile, faithless creature, and
not worthy of my love."

"How can you speak so, Matteo? What have I done?"

"I will tell you what you have done," he cried, furiously. "You
have listened to the honeyed words of the tempter. Be still, do not
contradict me! I saw you seated together--he, breathing sweet poison
into your heart; and you, eagerly inhaling it. I hate and despise him,
and I hate and curse you! There! I hurl my engagement ring at your
feet, and will never take it back again--no, never! We are separated!
Matteo will not stoop to marry a girl who has broken faith with him."

"I--with you? Matteo, that is false! That is false, I tell you."

"False, is it?" he cried, furiously. "Well then, swear by the holy
virgin that your heart is pure; swear by all the saints that you love
me, and that you do not love him, this Signore Goethe!"

She opened her mouth as if to speak, but no words escaped her lips.
Her lovely features assumed an expression of dismay; she stared into
vacancy, and stretched out her arms as if to ward off some horrible
vision that had arisen before her.

"Speak!" cried he. "Swear that you do not love him!"

Her arms sank helplessly to her side, and a deathly pallor spread over
her countenance as she slowly, but calmly and distinctly murmured: "I
cannot swear, Matteo! I know it now, I feel it now: I do love him!"

Matteo responded with a cry of fury, and struck Leonora with his
clinched fist so forcibly on the shoulder, that she fell to the ground
with a cry of pain. He stood over her, cursing her, and vowing that he
would have nothing more to do with the faithless woman. With a last
imprecation, he then turned and rushed out of the pavilion and down
into the garden. All was still in the pavilion. Leonora lay there with
closed eyelids, stark and motionless, her countenance of a deathly
pallor.

A pale woman glided in through the open door, looked anxiously around,
and saw the form of the poor girl extended on the floor. "She has
fainted! I must assist her!"

It was Angelica Kaufmann who uttered these words. She had been painting
outside on the porch, had heard every word that was spoken in the
pavilion, and now came to help and console the poor sufferer.

She knelt down by her side; rested her head on her knees, drew a
smelling-bottle from her dress-pocket and held it to the poor girl's
nose.

She opened her eyes and gazed dreamily into the kind, sympathetic
countenance of the noble woman who knelt over her.

"It is you, Signora Angelica," murmured Leonora. "You were near? You
heard all?"

"I heard all, Leonora," said the noble artiste, bending down and
kissing her pale lips.

"And you will betray me!" cried she, in dismay. "You will tell him?"

"No, Leonora, I will not betray you to any one. I will tell no human
being a word of what I have overheard."

"Swear that you will not, signora. Swear that you will keep my secret,
and that you will not betray it to _him_, even though my life should be
at stake."

"I swear that I will not, Leonora. Have confidence in me, my child! I
have suffered as you suffer, and my heart still bears the scars of deep
and painful wounds. I have known the anguish of hopeless love!"

"I too, suffer; I suffer terribly," murmured Leonora. "I would gladly
die, it would be a relief!"

"Poor child, death is not so kind a friend as to hasten to our relief
when we call him! We must learn to endure life, and to say with smiling
lips to the dagger when we draw it from the bleeding wound: 'Paete,
paete, non dolet!'"



CHAPTER XI.

ADIEU TO ITALY.


Writhing in agony for three days and three long nights, at length
Goethe found relief in the omnipresent balsam, all-healing Nature!

The poet-eagle was healed! The pinions of his soul had recovered from
the wounds inflicted by Cupid's envenomed arrow. Six days of solitude,
six days of restless wandering, six days of communing with God and
Nature, six days of struggling with his own weakness--these six days
have made him six years older, taught him to conquer pain, and restored
him to joyousness and confidence in himself.

On the morning of the seventh day, Goethe entered the room where his
friends were assembled, and greeted them with all his former gayety and
cordiality. No change was observable in his countenance, except that he
had become a little paler, and that his large brown eyes looked still
larger than usual. Only once did an anxious expression flit over his
countenance, and that was when he asked Signore Zucchi why his dear
friend Angelica had not come down to breakfast with her husband.

"She is not here," replied Zucchi. "She has been in Rome for the past
three days."

"In Rome?" repeated Goethe, with astonishment. "We intended making an
excursion together through the Albanian Mountains, and now she has left
us! When will she return?"

"That the physicians alone can tell you," replied Zucchi.

"Is Signora Angelica ill?" asked Goethe, with alarm.

"Oh, no, not she! But the young girl, the beautiful Leonora, has
suddenly fallen ill. Angelica found her lying insensible on the floor
of the pavilion. She interested herself in the poor girl, did all she
could to cheer and console her, and even attempted to reconcile her
to her affianced, from whom she had been estranged. Leonora, however,
declared that she would never marry young Matteo--that she would become
no man's wife, but would always remain with her brother. At her earnest
request, Angelica took her to Rome, to her brother's house. She had
hardly arrived there before she was taken violently ill with an attack
of fever. She is in a very precarious condition, and Angelica, instead
of finishing the large painting for which an Englishman has offered
four thousand scudi, has made herself this poor girl's nurse."

Goethe had listened to this narrative in silence, his head bowed
down on his breast. When Zucchi ceased speaking, he raised his head,
and cast a quick glance around the room. He saw gay and unconcerned
countenances only. No one observed him--the story of his anguish was
known to none of his friends.

He also seemed to be perfectly quiet and composed--to be occupied
solely with his paintings and drawings. When his friends suggested that
the time had now arrived to carry out their projected tour through the
Albanian Mountains, Goethe declined to accompany them, telling them
that an alteration which his friends in Germany desired him to make in
his "Egmont," necessitated his speedy return to Rome.

Goethe returned to the city on the evening of the same day, and
repaired, immediately on his arrival, to the house of Signore Bandetto,
to inquire after his sister's condition. She was still dangerously
ill, and the physicians gave but little hope. Signora Angelica was
with her, nursing her like a tender mother. He returned to the house
for the same purpose later in the evening, and so on each ensuing day.
Gradually, the bulletins were more favorable, and he was told that she
was steadily improving.

Goethe had been in Rome for two weeks, and had neither written nor
painted during this time; he had even avoided the gods of the Belvidere
and the holy halls of St. Peter's. The wounds of his heart were not yet
quite healed. Leonora's illness still made them smart.

To-day, he had again repaired to Signor Bandetto's house, had seen
Angelica Kaufmann, and had been told that all danger was now over. A
weight of care was removed from his soul, and he now entered his studio
with a gay and unclouded countenance for the first time during his
stay in Rome. His studio was a scene of wild confusion; books, papers,
drawings, chairs, and tables, were in the greatest disorder. The Juno
Ludovisi's head was gray with dust, and the impious chambermaid had
thrown the poet's dressing-gown over the figure of Cupid, as though the
god of love were a clothes-rack.

Goethe laughed loudly, laughed for the first time in long, long weeks,
and relieved the poor god of his disgraceful burden.

He then bowed profoundly, and looked intently into the mischievous
god's smiling countenance, as if to defy him to do his worst.

From this hour Goethe was once more himself. All grief had vanished
from his heart, and he was again restored to his former peace and
gayety. He once more belonged to the gods and muses, to poetry and to
nature. But, above all, to poetry! In the hours of his anguish the arts
had not been able to rescue and strengthen him, but wondrous thoughts
and sublime feelings had taken root in his soul.

Pain was overcome, as was also love. When he saw Leonora, after her
recovery, and when she thanked him, in faltering tones, for his
sympathy, and his frequent inquiries during her illness, Goethe smiled,
and treated her as a kind father treats his child, or a brother his
sister.

She fully understood the meaning of this smile, and shed many bitter
tears in her little room in the stillness of the night, but she did
not complain. She knew that this short-lived passion had fallen from
Goethe, as the withered blossom falls from the laurel-tree, and that
she would be nothing more than a remembrance in his life.

This consciousness she wore as a talisman against all sorrow; the roses
returned to her cheeks, her eyes once more shone lustrously, and never
in her after-life did she forget Goethe, as he never forgot her. The
remembrance of this beautiful girl shone as a bright, unclouded star
throughout Goethe's entire life; and in the days of his old age, when
the heart that had throbbed so ardently in Rome had grown cold, Goethe
said and wrote of this fair girl: "Her remembrance has never faded from
my thought and soul."

Another painful awakening soon followed this short dream of love--the
awakening from the dreamy, enchanting life in Italy, the return to
Germany. It was a pain and a joy at the same time. The deep pain of
separation from Rome, and the joyful prospect of returning to his home
and friends, and, above all, to his friend Charlotte von Stein?

"It was for her sake that I conquered this passion," said Goethe to
himself. "I told her that I would return to her, unfettered in hand
and heart, and I will keep my promise. Charlotte's love, Charlotte's
friendship, shall console me for what I have denied myself here, for
what I leave behind me! You, too, will be there, Muses; you will follow
me to the fatherland, and assemble lovingly around the poet in the
little house in Weimar. A poet I am; that I feel; of that I am now
convinced. In the next ten years of work that will at the utmost be
vouchsafed me, I will strive to accomplish, by diligent application,
as much that is good and great as I achieved without hard study in
the days of my youthful vigor and enthusiasm. I will be diligent and
joyous! I will live, create, and enjoy, and that I can do as well in
Weimar as in Rome! I will bear the Italian heaven within me; I will
erect 'Torquato Tasso' as a monument to Italy and myself. Farewell,
sublime, divine Roma! A greeting to you, you dear little city, in which
the prince lives whom I love, and the friend who belongs to my soul. A
greeting to you, Weimar!"



BOOK IV.



CHAPTER I.

THE RETURN.


To-day is the anniversary of the birthday of the beautiful Princess
Ferdinand, and is to be celebrated by a grand reception in the royal
palace of Berlin. The rank and fashion of Berlin are invited. The
ladies of the aristocracy are occupied with nothing but their toilette,
this object of first and greatest importance to the fair creatures
who form so marked a contrast to the lilies of the field, which
neither toil nor spin, and are yet so gorgeously arrayed. Nor do these
beautiful lilies of the parlor toil or spin; nor do they wait for the
Lord to array them, but take this care upon themselves, and make it
an affair of state in their lives. To the Countess Moltke it is also
an affair of state, and all the more so as her waning beauty demanded
increased attention to the arts of the toilette. The rose-colored
satin dress lies on the sofa, awaiting the garland of roses destined
to encircle its skirt. Her rich black hair is also to be adorned with
a wreath of roses, for the countess has a decided penchant for them
and fancies the color of her robe and flowers will be reflected in her
countenance, and impart to it a youthful, rosy hue. The flowers had
been ordered a week before at the establishment of Marie von Leuthen,
the first manufacturer of them in the city, and the countess was now
awaiting the return of the servant she had sent after them. For the
past two years, and since the day on which she had opened her store
on Frederick Street, Marie von Leuthen had furnished flowers for all
the ladies of high rank in Berlin. It was considered _bon ton_ to buy
one's wreaths, bouquets, and garlands from her. No one arranged them so
prettily as she, no one understood imitating Nature in so beautiful and
artistic a manner; moreover, it gave one the appearance of patronizing
the unfortunate young woman, whose fate had been the all-engrossing
topic of conversation in good society for an entire week. Her flowers
were also very dear, and it was therefore all the more honorable to be
able to say: "I purchased them from Madame von Leuthen. True, she is
exceedingly dear, but her work is good, and, moreover, it is a sort
of duty to assist her with our patronage. She is, as it were, one of
us; we have been entertained by her, and have enjoyed many agreeable
evenings at her house."

Marie von Leuthen had ceased to be a lady of fashion, but she had
become the fashionable flower-manufacturer of the city, and, as we have
already said, it was considered essential to adorn one's self from her
establishment.

Madame von Moltke was therefore not a little dismayed when the servant
returned, and announced that the flowers were not ready, and that
Madame von Leuthen begged to be excused for not having been able to
furnish them.

"But did you not tell her that I must necessarily have them?" asked the
countess.

"My lady, I not only told old Trude so, but I reproached her violently
for having accepted an order which her mistress could not execute; but
the old woman shut the door in my face, and gave me no other answer
than this: 'The flowers are not ready.'"

"But they can perhaps still be got ready," said the countess. "Probably
she has a great deal of work on hand for this evening, and it will
perhaps only be necessary to offer her a higher price in order to
secure the preference above her other customers. Let my carriage be
driven to the door. I will see and speak with this inconsiderate person
myself!"

A quarter of an hour later the countess's carriage stopped in front of
the store in Frederick Street, over the door of which was written in
large letters: "Marie von Leuthen, manufacturer of flowers."

The servant hurried forward to open the door, and the countess glided
majestically into the store, and greeted the old woman, who advanced
to meet her, with a proud, and almost imperceptible inclination of the
head.

"I wish to speak with Madame von Leuthen herself," said the countess,
imperiously.

"Her ladyship, however, well knows that none of Madame von Leuthen's
customers have had the pleasure of seeing her in the last two years,"
rejoined the old woman in sharp tones. "Her ladyship, like all the
other inquisitive ladies, has often attempted to see and speak with my
mistress, but always in vain. Madame von Leuthen has neither time nor
inclination to be chatted with or stared at. She does the work and I
receive the orders. Her ladyship must therefore have the goodness to
say what she has to say to old Trude."

"I have come for my flowers," said the countess, angrily. "My servant
tells me that he received the very impertinent message that they not
only were not, but would not be, ready. I can, however, scarcely credit
his statement, for I ordered these flowers myself, and when an order
has been accepted, it must of course be filled at the proper time."

"Your servant told you the truth," replied old Trude, in grumbling
tones, "the roses will not be ready."

"And why not, if I may be permitted to ask?"

"Certainly, why should you not ask? Of course you may ask," rejoined
Trude, shrugging her shoulders. "The answer is: The roses have not been
got ready, because Madame von Leuthen has not worked."

"Has your mistress then done so well that she is on the point of
retiring from business?" asked the countess.

Trude raised her eyes with a peculiar expression to her ladyship's
haughty countenance, and for a moment her withered old face quivered
with pain. But this emotion she quickly suppressed, and assumed her
former peevish and severe manner.

"What does my lady care whether my little Marie desires to retire to
rest or not, or whether the good Lord wills that she shall do so," said
she, gruffly. "Enough, the roses cannot indeed be ready, and if her
ladyship is angry, let her scold old Trude, for she alone is to blame,
as she never even gave Madame von Leuthen your order."

"This is, however, very wrong, very impertinent," cried the countess.
"Pray, why did you accept the order?"

"True, that I ought not to have done," murmured the old woman to
herself, "but I thought she would grow better, and instead--my lady,"
said she, interrupting herself. "I have nothing more to say, and must
beg you to content yourself with my reply. No more flowers will be
furnished to-day, and I will immediately lock the front door."

"She is a rude person," cried the countess, angrily. "If she dares to
insult those who assisted her impoverished mistress out of benevolence
and pity, in this shameless manner, the consequence will be that her
customers will withdraw their patronage and give her no more orders."

"As you please, my lady," said old Trude, sorrowfully. "But be kind
enough to go, if you have nothing further to say."

The countess gave the presuming old woman an annihilating glance, and
rustled out of the store and into her carriage.

Trude hastily locked the door behind her, and pulled down the blind on
the inside. "Who knows whether I shall ever unlock this door again!"
sighed she. "Who knows whether she shall ever make flowers again!"

The old woman sank down on a chair and burst into tears. She quickly
dried her eyes, however, and assumed an air of gayety when she heard
her name called in the adjoining room, and walked hurriedly into the
apartment from which the voice had proceeded.

"Here I am, my little Marie," said she, on entering; "here I am." She
hurried forward to the pale lady, who was sitting in the arm-chair at
the large round table.

Was that really Marie? Was this pale woman with the large lustrous
eyes, with the hectic flush on her hollow cheeks--was this really
that proud beauty who had laid aside rank and wealth with royal
contempt--who with joyous courage had determined to create for
herself a new life, and, after having avenged herself on her unworthy
husband and her unnatural mother, had gone out into the world to earn
a subsistence with the work of her hands? The figure of that woman
had been tall and full--the figure of this woman was shrunken, and,
in spite of the heavy woollen dress which she wore, it was evident
that nothing of their former beauty and fulness remained to these
shoulders, to these arms, and to this unnaturally slight figure. And
yet, although this pale woman had retained so little of her former
beauty, there was still an inexpressible, a touching charm in her
appearance. Disease had laid waste her fair form, but disease had not
been able to deprive these eyes of their lustre, nor these cheeks of
their rosy hue. To be sure, the same lustrous eyes and flushed cheeks
were the fatal evidences of that disease which gives those whom it
destroys the appearance of improvement, and permits them to hope until
the last moment. Her brow was clear and transparent, and a soft,
tranquil smile rested oftener on her thin, delicate lips than formerly.
True, her figure was thin and unattractive, but this attenuation gave
to her appearance something spirituelle. When she glided lightly and
noiselessly through the room, the thought would occur to you that she
was not a woman of earth, but must really be one of those of whom we
read in song and story--one who, for some fault committed in heaven, or
in the realm of spirits, is compelled to descend to the earth to make
atonement by learning to suffer and endure pain like mortals! She had
been working flowers of every variety. Roses and lilies, violets and
forget-me-nots, tulips and pinks, and whatever else the names of these
lovely children of the spring and sun may be, lay on the table in the
greatest confusion. They were in the varied stages of completion, some
half finished, and others wanting only a leaf or the stem. Marie held
a bunch of lilies in her delicate hand, and Trude sighed when she
observed it. It seemed to her that her darling looked like the angel of
death, standing on the brink of the grave, and waving her lilies in a
greeting to the new life that was dawning for the dying mortal!

"Trude, who was it I heard speaking in the other room, who spoke in
such loud tones?" asked Marie, as she leaned back in the arm-chair, as
if exhausted by her work.--"Why do you not answer? Why do you not tell
me who was there? Good heavens!" she cried, suddenly, "it cannot have
been--O Trude, for God's sake, tell me, who was it? And if it was he,
Trude--if he has at last come, then--"

"Be still, Marie!" answered the old woman, interrupting her, and
assuming an air of gayety. "You are still the same young girl, just as
impatient as ever! No, no, it was not he! It was only Countess Moltke,
who wished to speak with you about a garland of roses."

"Countess Moltke!" repeated Marie, thoughtfully. "She, too, was present
on that terrible day when--"

"Do not speak of it, do not think of it!" entreated the old woman. "You
know the doctor told you that if you desired to grow healthy and strong
again, you should lay aside all sad thoughts, and endeavor to be right
cheerful."

"I am cheerful, Trude," replied Marie, smiling. "Each day brings him
nearer, each fleeting hour shortens our long separation. I now bless
the disease that attacked me two months ago, for, under the impression
that I was about to die, you then did what I never would have done,
you caused good Professor Gedicke to write to him and tell him to
come home, as his Marie was very ill. I thank you, good Trude, for
confessing this, and for giving me the blessed assurance that he will
soon be here. But yet it was cruel to terrify and alarm him! I hope,
however, that the professor has again written since then, and told him
that all danger is over, and that I am very greatly improved!"

"And he did so, Marie; he wrote immediately after the receipt of his
letter from Rome, announcing his departure for home, and requesting
that further intelligence, as to your condition, should be sent to him
at the post-office in Stuttgart. Mr. Moritz knows that all danger is
over, and that you are doing well. You are certainly doing well, are
you not, dear Marie?"

"Yes, I am doing well, very well indeed, and better each day. I feel,
at times, as though I had wings, and had flown high above the earth;
when I look down, every thing seems small and indistinct, as though
far away in the dim distance. You, however, are always near me, as is
also his dear countenance; his large dark eyes are ever shining into
my heart like two stars. I feel so happy when I see them--so light
and free, that I seem to have bidden adieu to all earthly care and
sorrow. Only at times my eyes grow a little dim, and my hands tremble
so when I wish to work, and then something pains me here in the breast
occasionally! But this need not disquiet you, Trude, it only pains a
little, and it will soon pass away."

"Yes, indeed, it will soon pass away!" said Trude, turning aside, and
hastily wiping away the tears which rushed to her eyes in spite of her
endeavors to repress them. "Certainly, Marie, you will soon be entirely
restored to health and strength; this weakness is only the result of
your long illness."

Marie did not reply, but cast a quick, searching glance at old Trude's
kind face, and then slowly raised her eyes toward heaven with an
expression of earnest entreaty. But then a soft smile flitted over her
countenance, and the ominous roses on her cheeks burned brighter.

"Yes, I will soon recover, Trude," she said, almost gayly. "Under such
treatment I cannot fail to recover. You nurse me as tenderly as a
mother nurses her child. And it is very necessary that I should, good
Trude, for our supply of flowers is almost exhausted, and our purse is
empty. This is the case, is it not? You gave Countess Moltke no garland
of roses because we had no more."

"Yes, such is the case, Marie, if you must know. The roses are all
sold, but that is easily accounted for, as no elegant lady is willing
to wear any flowers but yours. You are quite right, Marie, you must
make haste and get well, so that you can make a fresh supply of
beautiful roses. But, in order to be entirely restored to health, you
must rest and do no work whatever for the next few weeks."

"The next few weeks!" repeated Marie, in a slightly mocking tone
of voice. "The next few weeks! Trude, that seems like an almost
inconceivable eternity, and-- But, good heavens! you do not believe
that weeks will pass before Philip comes?"

"But why should I believe any thing of the kind, Marie?" said the old
nurse, in tranquillizing tones. "He left Rome long ago, and Mr. Gedicke
says we may expect him at any hour."

"How pleasantly that sounds! what music lies in your words, Trude!"
sighed Marie. "We may expect him at any hour! Do you know, good Trude,
that I am still nothing more than a foolish child! I have been awaiting
Philip these two long years, and during this time I have always been
joyous and patient, for I know that this separation was necessary,
and would be a blessing to him I loved. 'Before the roses bloom, the
thorns grow, and we are wounded by them when we pluck the lovely
flowers!' This I have constantly repeated to myself during these two
long years, and have borne the pain which the thorns caused me without
murmuring. But now, when I know that I will soon see him again--now,
each hour is magnified into an eternity of torment, and all reasoning
is in vain, and all patience exhausted. I feel as though I could die
for very longing to see him. And yet, I am determined not to die; I
must live--live to pluck the roses after having suffered so much from
the thorns. But, alas! Trude, if my sufferings shall have been too
great--if I should die of these many wounds! Sometimes it seems to me
as though my strength were entirely exhausted, and-- There, the thorn
is again piercing my heart! How it pains!"

She sank back groaning, and pressed her quivering hand to her breast.
Trude hurried forward, rubbed her cold, damp brow with strengthening
essences, and then ran to the closet to get the little phial of
medicine which the physician had prescribed for such attacks of
weakness.

"Open your lips, Marie, and swallow these drops; they will relieve you."

She slowly opened her eyes, and her trembling hand grasped the spoon
which Trude had filled from the phial, and carried it to her pale lips.

"That will do you good, my dear child," said the old nurse, in a
firm voice, that knew nothing of the tears which stood in her eyes.
"The doctor said these little attacks were harmless, and would cease
altogether by and by."

"Yes, they will cease altogether by and by," whispered Marie, after a
pause. "Cease with my life! I will not die! No, I will not!"

With a quick movement, she arose and walked rapidly to and fro in the
little room. A few roses and violets were swept from the table by
Marie's dress, and fell to the floor. In passing, Marie's foot crushed
them. She stood still and looked down sadly at these flowers.

"See, Trude," said she, with a faint smile, "a few moments ago I was
complaining of having suffered so much from thorns, and now it looks as
if Fate intended to avenge me. It strews my path with flowers, as for a
bride on her way to the altar, or for a corpse that is being borne to
the grave."

"But, my child, what strange words these are!" cried Trude, with
assumed indignation. "The physician says that all danger is past, and
that you are steadily improving; and you say such sad and ominous
things that you make me feel sad myself, and make the tears gather in
my eyes. That is not right, Marie, for you well know that the doctor
said you must carefully avoid all agitation of mind, and endeavor to be
uniformly cheerful."

"It is true, good nurse, I ought to be cheerful, and I will be
cheerful. You see it is only because I so long to live--so long to
pluck a few roses after having been wounded by so many thorns. You must
not scold me on this account," continued Marie, as she entwined her
arms lovingly around her old nurse. "No, you must not scold me!"

"I am not scolding you, you dear, foolish child," said Trude, laughing.
"I, too, so long to see you live; and if I could purchase life for you
with my heart's blood--well, you know I would gladly shed my blood for
you, drop by drop."

"Yes, I know you would," cried Marie, tenderly, as she rested her head
on Trude's shoulder.

"Fortunately, however, it is not necessary," continued the old nurse.
"Marie will live and be happy without old Trude's assistance. Professor
Philip Moritz will make us healthy and happy."

"You, too?" asked Marie, a happy smile lighting up her
countenance.--"Really, Trude, I believe you love him too, and I suppose
I ought to be jealous of you for daring to love my Philip."

"Yes, I not only love him, but am completely bewitched by him,"
rejoined Trude, laughing. "I long for him, day and night, because I
desire to see my child happy. Like a good, sensible girl, you must
endeavor to recover your health and strength, in order that your Philip
may rejoice when he arrives, and not suppose you to be still unwell."

"You are right, Trude, Philip will be alarmed if I am not looking well
and strong. But then I really am well; all that I want is a little more
strength. But that will soon come, as I intend to guard against all
agitation and sad thoughts. These thoughts, however, return, again and
again, particularly at night, when I am lying awake and feel feverish;
they sit around my bed like ghosts, and not only tell me sad legends
of the past but also make gloomy prophecies for the future. At night I
seem to hear a cricket chirping in my heart in shrill, wailing tones:
'Marie, you must die, you have made many roses for others, but life has
no roses for you, and'--but this is nonsense, and we will speak of it
no longer."

"We will laugh at it," said Trude, "that will be still better." She
stooped down to pick up the flowers Marie had trodden under foot, and
availed herself of this opportunity to wipe the tears from her eyes.
"The poor things! look, Marie, you have completely crushed the poor
little violets!"

"There is a beautiful and touching poem about a crushed violet," said
Marie, regarding the flowers thoughtfully. "Philip loved it, because
his adored friend, Goethe, had written it. One day when I showed him
the first violets I had made, he smiled, pressed the little flowers to
his lips and repeated the last lines of this poem. It seems to me that
I still hear the dear voice that always sounded like sweet music in
my ear. 'And if I die, 'tis she who takes my life; through her I die,
beneath her feet!'"

"There you have commenced again," sighed Trude. "No more sad words,
Marie, it is not right!"

"You are right, nurse," cried Marie, throwing the flowers on the
table. "What care we for crushed violets! We will have nothing to do
with them! We will be gay! See, I am ascending my throne again," she
continued, with mock gravity, as she seated herself in the arm-chair.
"Now I am the princess in the fairy-tale, and you are the old
housekeeper whose duty it is to see that her mistress is never troubled
with ennui. Begin, madame; relate some story, or the princess will
become angry and threaten you with her bunch of lilies."

"I am not at all afraid," said Trude, "I have a large supply of pretty
stories on hand. I learned a great deal while attending to your
commissions yesterday, Marie."

"My commissions? Ah yes, I recollect, I asked you to look at the little
monument on my father's grave. It has already been placed there, has it
not?"

"Yes, Marie, and the large cross of white marble is beautiful; the
words you had engraved on it in golden letters are so simple and
touching that the tears rushed to my eyes when I read: 'He has gone to
eternal rest; peace be with him and with us all! His daughter, Marie,
prays for him on earth; may he pray for her in heaven!' The golden
words shone beautifully in the sun."

"They came from my heart, Trude. I am glad that I can think of my
father without sorrow or reproach. We were reconciled; he often came to
see me, and looked on at my work for hours together, rejoicing when I
had finished a flower."

"It is true," said Trude, "your father was entirely changed. I believe
his conscience was awakened, and that he became aware of how greatly he
had sinned against a good and lovely daughter."

"Do not speak so, Trude. All else is forgotten, and I will only
remember that he loved me when he died. The blessing uttered by his
dying lips has wiped out his harsh words from my remembrance. Let it be
so with you, too, Trude! Promise me that you will think of my father
with kindness only."

"I promise," said the old woman, hesitatingly, "although--well, let the
dead rest, we will speak of the living. Marie, whom do you suppose I
met on my return from the churchyard? Mrs. General von Leuthen!"

"My mother," exclaimed Marie, raising her hand convulsively to her
heart, "my mother!"

"Yes, your unnatural mother," cried Trude, passionately; "the woman who
is the cause of all your misfortunes and sorrows--the woman I hate, and
will never forgive--no, not even in my hour of death."

"I have already forgiven her, although my hour of death is, as I hope,
far distant. Where did you see her?"

"Riding in a beautiful carriage, and very grand and stately she looked,
too. Happening to see me, she called out to the servant, who sat by the
coachman's side, to halt. The carriage stopped, and her ladyship had
the wondrous condescension to beckon to me to approach."

"And you did so, I hope?" said Marie, eagerly.

"Yes, I did, but only because I thought you would be angry with me
if I did not. I stepped up to the carriage, and her ladyship greeted
me with the haughtiness of a queen, and inquired after the health
of my dear mistress. She wished to know if you were still happy and
contented, and whether you never regretted what you had done. To all of
which I joyously replied, that you were happy and contented, and were
about to be married to the dear professor who was expected to arrive
to-day. Her ladyship looked annoyed at first, but soon recovered her
equanimity, and said she was glad to hear it. She then observed that
something of a very agreeable nature had also occurred to her a short
time ago, and that her exalted name and high connections had at last
been a great service to her. She had become lady stewardess of the
Countess von Ingenheim's household, and at her particular request his
majesty the king had permitted her to resume her family name, and call
herself Countess Dannenberg. She had a large salary, a waiting-maid,
and a man-servant. Moreover, the king had given her a pair of beautiful
horses and a magnificent carriage, with her coat of arms painted on
the door. The king was very gracious to her, as was also Countess
Ingenheim. I tell you, Marie, her ladyship was almost delirious with
joy, and exceedingly proud of her position. You know who this Countess
Ingenheim is, do you not?"

Marie shook her head slowly. "I believe I did know, but I have
forgotten."

"This Countess Ingenheim is the wife of the left hand of our king;
her maiden name was Julie von Voss, and she was maid of honor to the
queen-dowager. The king made her a countess, and his bad councillors
and favorites told him he could marry her rightfully, although he
already had a wedded wife. These exalted interpreters of God's Word
told the king that it was written in the Bible: 'Let not your right
hand know what the left does,' and that this meant: 'It does not
concern the wife of your right hand, although you should take another
on your left.' The king was easily persuaded of this, and the pious
Privy-councillor Wöllner, who is an ordained priest, performed the
ceremony himself, and is on this account in high favor at court. The
newly-created Countess von Dannenberg has become lady stewardess to the
newly-created Countess Ingenheim; she is proud of it, too, and does not
consider it beneath her dignity to be in the service of the wife of the
right hand. To have a celebrated professor as son-in-law was not enough
for her--that she called a disgrace. But she bends the knee to gilded
disgrace, and acts as if she were not well aware that the wife of the
left hand is no better than the mistress, and that the ancient nobility
of the Countess von Dannenberg is sullied when it comes in such close
contact with the brand-new nobility of the Countess Ingenheim."

"Say no more, Trude, do not give way to passion," said Marie, wearily.
"I am glad that she has at last found the happiness and content she has
so long been seeking. On earth each one must seek out his happiness in
his own way, and we can reproach no one because his is not ours."

"But we can reproach every one who seeks it in a dishonorable way, and
that her ladyship has done, and--"

"Be still, Trude!" interrupted Marie; "you forget that she is my
mother."

"Why should I remember it?" cried Trude, passionately; "why should not
I also, at last, forget what she has forgotten throughout her entire
life? I hate her!"

"And I," said Marie, softly, as she folded her hands piously and looked
upward, "I forgive her with my whole heart, and wish her all the
happiness she can desire."

"Ah, Marie," cried the old woman, as she hurried forward, seized
Marie's hands and covered them with kisses, "how good an angel my Marie
is, and how wicked, how abominable an old woman I am! Forgive me, my
child, I, too, will endeavor to be better, and to learn to be good and
pious from you."

"As if you were not so already, my dear nurse!" cried Marie, as she
entwined her arms lovingly around the old woman, who had seated herself
on a stool at her feet and was looking up at her tenderly. "As if
you were not the best, the most loving, the kindest and the bravest
of women! What would have become of me without you? How could I have
survived these two long, terrible years, if you had not stood at my
side like a mother? Who has worked with me and kept my little household
in good order? Who nursed me when I was sick? Who cheered me in my
hours of sadness, and laughed with me in my hours of gladness? You, my
dear, kind nurse, you did all this: your noble, honest, brave heart has
supported, guarded, and protected me. I thank you for all this; I thank
you for your love, and if I should die, my last breath of life and my
last thought will be a blessing for my dear, good nurse!"

They held each other in a long and close embrace, and for a time
nothing was heard but sighs and suppressed sobbing. Then old Trude
released her darling, with a last tender kiss.

"Here we are in the midst of emotions and tears," said she, "although
we had determined to be cheerful and gay, in order that we might give
our dear Philip a joyous reception if he should happen to come to-day,
and not have to meet him with tear-stained countenances."

"Do you, then, really consider it possible that he may come to-day?"
asked Marie, eagerly.

"Professor Gedicke said we might expect him at any hour," replied
Trude, smiling. "Let us, therefore, be gay and merry; the days of pain
and sorrow are gone, and hereafter your life will be full of happiness
and joy."

"Do you really believe so, Trude?" asked Marie, fastening her large
luminous eyes in an intent and searching gaze on the pale, wrinkled
countenance of her old nurse. She had the courage to smile, and not to
falter under the anxious gaze of her darling.

"Certainly I do," said she; "and why should I not? Is not your lover
coming back after a separation of two years? are we not to have a
wedding, and will we not live together happily afterward? We are not
poor; we have amassed a little fortune by the labor of our hands. To be
sure, we cannot keep an equipage for our Marie, but still she will have
enough to enable her to hire a carriage whenever she wishes to ride,
and it seems to me it is all the same whether we drive with four horses
or with one, provided we only get through the dust and mud. But listen,
Marie, I have not yet given you all the news, I have something to tell
that will be very agreeable."

"Then tell me quickly, Trude, I love to hear good news."

"My child, you have often asked me if I had heard any thing of Mr.
Ebenstreit, and if I knew what had become of him. In your goodness you
have even gone so far as to observe that you have been hard and cruel
toward him."

"And I have been, Trude, I presumed to play the rôle of fate and take
upon myself the punishment which is God's prerogative only. True, I
had bitter cause of complaint against him, and he was to blame for my
unhappiness, but I am not free from blame either, and he, too, had just
cause of complaint against me. I had stood before God's altar with
him--had, at least, recognized him as my husband before the world,
and yet I have hated and detested him, and have fulfilled none of the
duties which devolved upon me from the moment of our marriage."

"But you were never married, Marie. You did not utter a single word at
the wedding? You did not pronounce the 'Yes.'"

"Do not speak so, Trude; we deceive our conscience with such pretences,
and only persuade ourselves that we have done no wrong. But when we
lie sleepless on our couches during the long night, as I do, then the
slumbering conscience awakens, all self-deception vanishes, and we see
things as they really are. Yes, I know that I have not behaved toward
Ebenstreit as I ought to have done, and I wish I knew where he is, so
that I could write to him and make peace with him before--"

"Before you marry, you would say, Marie? Then, listen! I know where
Mr. Ebenstreit is. I also know that he is doing well, and that he,
too, longs to see and speak with you. What do you say to this news, my
child?"

"I am glad to hear it, Trude, and wish to see Ebenstreit as soon as
possible, for all things are uncertain on earth, and if he came later--"

"Yes, if he came later," said Trude, interrupting her, "our dear
professor might be here, and then we would not have time to occupy
ourselves with any one else. You see I thought of this when I saw Mr.
Ebenstreit, and therefore--"

"What? You have seen and spoken with him?"

"Of course I have, my child. From whom could I have otherwise learned
all this? He entreated me to procure him an interview with you. I told
him to come here in two hours and wait outside, promising to call him
in if you should permit me to do so. The two hours have now passed, my
child. Will you see him?"

"Wait a moment," said Marie, turning pale. "I must first collect my
thoughts, I must first nerve myself. You know I am very weak, Trude,
and--there! I feel that thorn piercing my breast again! It pains
fearfully!"

She closed her eyes, threw herself back in the chair, and lay there
quivering and groaning. Trude remained standing near the door
tearfully, regarding the pale, attenuated countenance, which was still
her ideal of all that was lovely and beautiful.

Slowly Marie opened her eyes again. "You may bring him in, Trude, but
we will be composed and avoid speaking of the past."

Marie followed Trude with a sorrowful gaze, as she walked noiselessly
to the door and out into the hall. "The good, faithful old nurse!"
murmured she. "Does she really believe that I shall recover, or is she
only trying to make me believe so? I so long to live, I so long for a
little happiness on earth!"



CHAPTER II.

RECONCILIATION.


The door opened again, and Trude entered, followed by a tall, thin
gentleman. His cheeks were hollow, and his light hair and brown beard
had turned gray, and yet it seemed to Marie that he was younger and
stronger than when she had last seen him, two years before, on that
fearful day of vengeance. His countenance now wore a different, a
firmer and more energetic expression, and the eyes that had formerly
been so dim, now shone with unusual lustre, and were fastened on Marie
with an expression of tender sympathy.

He hurried forward, grasped the two pale, attenuated hands which Marie
had extended toward him, hid his countenance in them and wept aloud.

For a time all was silent. Trude had noiselessly withdrawn to the
furthest corner of the room, where she stood, half-concealed by the
bed-curtains, endeavoring to suppress her sobs, that her darling might
not hear them.

"Marie, my friend, my benefactress," said Ebenstreit, after a long
pause, "I have come to thank you. I came here from New Orleans, with
no other intention and no other wish than the one that is now being
gratified: to kneel before you, holding your hands in mine, and to say:
I thank you, my benefactress! You have made a new being of me; you
have driven out the demons, and prepared the altar for good spirits. I
thank you, Marie, for through you I have recovered happiness, peace,
and self-esteem! Marie, when we last saw each other, I was a sordid
being, whose soul was hardened with egotism and vanity. You were right
in saying there was nothing but cold calculation, and the miserable
pride of wealth, in the place where the warm human heart should beat.
You stepped before me like the avenging angel with the flaming sword.
In your sublime, your divine anger, you thrust the sword so deep into
my breast, that it opened like the box of Pandora, permitting the evil
spirits and wicked thoughts to escape, and leaving, in the depths of
the heart that had been purified by pain, nothing but hope and love.
When I left you at that time and rushed out into the street, I was
blinded and maddened. I determined to end an existence I conceived to
be worthless and disgraced. But the hand of a friend held me back,
the voice of a friend consoled me; and then, when I was again capable
of thought, I found that these words were engraven in my heart and
soul, in characters of living flame: 'Marie shall learn to esteem me,
I will make of myself a new man, and then Marie will not despise me.'
These words have gone before me on the rough path, and through the
darkness of my life, like a pillar of flame. It was my sun and my star.
I looked up to it as the mariner looks at his guiding compass when
tossed about on the wide ocean. This pillar of flame has at last led me
back to the avenging angel, whom I now entreat to become an angel of
reconciliation. I entreat you, Marie, forgive me for the evil I have
done you, forgive me for the unhappiness I have caused you, and let me
try to atone for the past!"

Marie had at first listened to him with astonishment, and then her
features had gradually assumed an expression of deep emotion. Her
purple lips had been tightly compressed, and the tears which had
gathered in her large eyes were slowly gliding down over the cheeks
on which the ominous roses were once more burning brightly. Now, when
Ebenstreit entreated her to forgive him, when she saw kneeling in the
dust before her the man whose image had stood before her conscience
for the past two years as an eternal reproach, and as a threatening
accusation, a cry of pain escaped her heaving breast. She arose from
her arm-chair, and stretched out her hands toward heaven.

"Too much, too much, O God!" she cried, in loud and trembling tones.
"Instead of passing judgment on the sinner, you show mercy! All pride
and arrogance have vanished from my soul, and I bow myself humbly
before Thee and before this man, whom I have wronged and insulted!"

And before Ebenstreit--who had arisen when he saw Marie rise from her
chair in such great agitation--could prevent it, Marie had fallen on
her knees before him, and raised her folded hands, imploringly.

"Ebenstreit, forgive me, I entreat you! I have wronged and insulted
you, have lived at your side in hatred and anger, instead of striving
to be a blessing to you--instead of endeavoring to seek out with you
the path of goodness and justice from which we had both wandered so
far. But look at me, Ebenstreit! behold what these years of remorse
have made of me--behold her who was once the proud tyrant who presumed
to command, but has now become a poor penitent who humbly begs
forgiveness. Speak, say that you forgive me! No, do not attempt to
raise me up! Let me remain on my knees until you take pity on me in
your magnanimity--until you have uttered the words for which my soul
thirsts."

"Well, then, Marie," sobbed Ebenstreit, his countenance flooded with
tears, "I will do your will. Marie, I forgive you with my whole
soul--forgive you for all my sufferings and tears, and tell you that
out of these sufferings consolations, and out of these tears hopes,
have blossomed. God bless, protect, and reward you, my benefactress, my
friend!"

With folded hands, and in breathless suspense, she listened to his
words, and a joyous smile gradually illumined her countenance.

"I thank you, my friend; I thank you," she murmured, in low tones; and
lightly and airily, as though borne up by her inward exaltation, she
arose and stood before Ebenstreit, a radiant smile on her lips.

"Do not weep, my friend," she said, "all sorrow and sadness are past,
and lie behind us. Let us rejoice in the good fortune that brings us
together once more for a short time, after our long separation and
estrangement. You shall narrate the history of your life during this
period, and tell me where and how you have lived and struggled."

"No," he said, tenderly, "let me first hear your history."

"My friend," she replied, smiling, as she slowly seated herself in the
arm-chair, "look at this table, look at these poor flowers made out of
cloth, wire, and water-colors. These lilies and violets are without
lustre and fragrance. Such has been my life. Life had no roses for me;
but I made roses for others, and I lived because one heavenly flower
blossomed in my life--I lived because this one flower still shed its
fragrance in my heart. This is the hope of seeing my beloved once more!

"Do not ask me to tell you more; you will soon see and learn all; and I
know you will rejoice in my happiness when my hope becomes beautiful,
blissful reality!"

"I will, indeed," said Ebenstreit, tenderly, "for your happiness has
been my constant prayer since our separation; and not until I see
you united to the noble man from whom I so cruelly and heartlessly
separated you--not until then will I have atoned for my crime, and I
conceive of the possibility of a peaceful and happy future for myself."

She extended her hand and smiled. But this smile was so touching,
so full of sadness, that it moved Ebenstreit more profoundly than
lamentations or despairing wails could have done.

"Tell me of your life," said Marie, in a soft voice. "Seat yourself at
my side, and tell me where you have been and how you have lived."

He seated himself as she had directed. Old Trude came forward from the
background, and listened eagerly to Ebenstreit's words.

"I cannot illustrate my history as you did yours when you pointed to
these flowers," he said, smiling. "In order to do this I should have to
show you forests felled by the axe, fields made fruitful, rivers dammed
up, and huts and barns erected after hard toil. When I rushed from your
presence, in mad desperation, I met the banker Splittgerber on the
sidewalk. He had been standing at the door, awaiting me. I endeavored
to tear myself from his grasp, but he held me firmly. I cried out that
I wanted peace, the peace of the grave, but he only held me the more
firmly, drew me away with irresistible force, raised me like a child,
and placed me in his carriage, which then drove rapidly to the densest
part of the zoological garden. I was wild with rage, and endeavored to
jump out of the carriage. But on the side on which I sat, the carriage
door was not provided with a handle, and I found it impossible to open
it. I endeavored to pass Splittgerber and get out at the other door,
and cried: 'Let me out! No one shall compel me to live! I will die, I
must die!' But the old man held me with an iron grasp, and pressed me
down on my seat again. A loud and terrible voice resounded in my ear,
like the trumpet of the day of judgment, and to this hour I have not
been able to convince myself that it was no other than the voice of
good old Splittgerber. This terrible voice uttered these words: 'You
have no right to die, for you have not yet lived. First go and learn to
live, in order to deserve death!' I was, however, completely overcome
by these fearful words, and sank back in a state of insensibility."

"'You have no right to die, for you have not yet lived,'" repeated
Marie, in a low voice. "Have I then lived, and is it for this reason
that--" she shuddered and interrupted herself: "Go on, my friend--what
happened further?"

"Of what further occurred I have no knowledge. I have a vague
remembrance that I was like a departed soul, and flew about from
place to place through the universe, seeking a home and an asylum
everywhere, and finding none. I sojourned in hell for a long time,
and suffered all the tortures of the damned. I lay stretched on the
rack like Prometheus, a vulture feeding on my vitals, and cried out
vainly for mercy. When my wandering soul again returned to earth and
to its miserable tenement--when I awakened to consciousness, they
told me that I had been ill and delirious for a long time. Good old
Splittgerber had nursed me like a father, and, when I recovered, made
me the most brilliant offers. Among many other similar propositions, I
was to become his partner, and establish a branch house in New York. I
rejected all; I could hear nothing but the trumpet-tones of that voice,
crying: 'You have no right to die, for you have not yet lived. Go and
learn to live, in order to deserve to die!' I wished to deserve to die;
that was my only thought, and no one should help me in achieving this
end. I wished to accomplish this alone, entirely unaided! After having
converted the paltry remnants of my property into money, I suddenly
took my departure without telling any one where I was going. I was
wearied of the Old World, and turned my steps toward the New. I longed
to be doing and struggling. I bought a piece of land in America, large
enough to make a little duchy in Germany. I hired several laborers,
immigrants in whose countenances sullen despair was depicted, and with
them I began my work; and a vast, gigantic work it was. A morass and a
dense forest were to be converted into fruitful fields. What the Titans
of mythology could perhaps not have accomplished, was achieved by
poor mortals to whom despair gave courage, and defiance of misfortune
superhuman strength. We worked hard, Marie, but our labors were
blessed; we had the satisfaction of knowing that they were not in vain,
and of seeing them productive of good results. The forest and morass
I then bought have now been converted into a splendid farm, on which
contented laborers live in cleanly cottages, rejoicing in the rewards
of diligence. In the midst of this settlement lies my own house, a
simple log-house, but yet a sufficiently comfortable dwelling for a
laborer like myself. Over the door stands the following inscription:
'Learn to work, that you may enjoy life,' and on the wall of my humble
parlor hangs a board on which is written: 'Money is temptation, work is
salvation. True riches are, a good heart and the joyousness resulting
from labor.'"

"You are a good, a noble man," whispered Marie, regarding him
earnestly. "I thank you for having come, I rejoice in your return."

"I have not returned to remain," said Ebenstreit, pressing her hand to
his lips. "I only returned to see you, Marie, and to render an account
to Heaven, through the avenging angel, whose flaming sword drove me
from my sins. You see, Marie, there is something of my former accursed
sordidness in me still; I dare to speak of accounts even to God and
to you, as if the soul's burden of debt could ever be cancelled! No,
while I live I will be your debtor.--And your debtor, too, Trude," said
he, turning, with a smile, to the old woman, who was regarding him
wonderingly.

"I'm sure I don't know how that can be," said she, thoughtfully; "you
have received nothing from me but abuse; that however you certainly
still owe me. If you propose to return this now, and call me a
short-sighted fool, and an abominable person, as I have so often called
you, you will be perfectly justifiable in doing so. I must say that
you have the right, and I am glad that I am compelled to say so. You
have become a good man, Mr. Ebenstreit, and the good Lord himself will
rejoice over you, for it is written in the Bible: 'When the unjust man
returns to God there is more joy over him in heaven than over a hundred
just men.' Therefore, my dear Mr. Ebenstreit, pay me back for all my
abuse, and then give me your hand and say: 'Trude, we now owe each
other nothing more, and after all you may be a very good old woman,
whose heart is in the right place, and--her mouth too!'"

Ebenstreit extended his hand, with a kindly smile. "Let us shake hands;
the abuse you shall, however, not have. I am your debtor in a higher
and better sense; your brave and resolute countenance was often before
me, and at times, when a task seemed almost impossible, I seemed to
hear a voice at my side, saying: 'Work, work on! Ransom your soul with
the sweat that pours from your brow, you soul-seller, for otherwise
old Trude will give you no peace, either on earth or in heaven! Work,
work on! Earn your bread by the sweat of your brow, otherwise you can
never enter the kingdom of heaven, you soul-seller!' You will remember
that this was the only title you accorded me in former days?"

"Well, Mr. Ebenstreit, I had others for you, to be sure," said the old
woman, blushing, "but that was the main title on account of the five
hundred dollars that--"

"Be still!" interrupted Marie, as she slowly arose, and leaned forward
in a listening attitude. "Did you hear nothing, Trude?"

"No, my darling. What could I have heard?"

"A carriage stopped before the door, and my heart suddenly ceased to
beat, as if expecting a great joy or a great sorrow. I seemed to hear
steps in the passage. Yes, I recognize this step--it is his; he--be
still! do you hear nothing?"

They all listened for a moment in breathless suspense. "Yes, I seem to
hear some one walking in the outer hall," murmured the old woman. "Let
me go and see whether--"

"Some one is knocking," cried Marie. "Trude, some one is--"

"Be composed, my darling, be composed," said Trude, in soothing tones;
"if you excite yourself so much, it will be injurious. Some one knocks
again, and--"

"Trude, be merciful!" cried Marie. "Go and open the door. Do not let me
wait; I believe I have but a little while longer to live, and I cannot
wait! Go!"

Trude had hurried to the door, and opened it. She started, waved her
hand, closed the door again, and turned to Marie, who stood erect, in
breathless suspense.

"Marie," said she, vainly endeavoring to speak with composure, "there
certainly is some one at the door, who desires to speak with me, but it
is no stranger; perhaps he wishes to order some flowers. I will go and
ask him."

She was about to open the door again, but Marie ran forward and held
her back. "You are deceiving me, Trude. You well know who it is, and
I know too. My heart tells me it is he! Philip! my Philip! Come to me,
Philip!"

"Marie!" cried a loud, manly voice from the outside. The door was
hastily thrown open; and he rushed in, with extended arms. "Marie!
where are you, Marie!"

She uttered a loud, piercing cry of joy, and flew to her lover's heart.
"My Philip! My beloved! God bless you for having come!"

"My Marie, my darling!" murmured he, passionately. "God bless you for
having called me!"



CHAPTER III.

GRIM DEATH.


They held each other firmly embraced, heart to heart. All sorrow and
sadness were forgotten; they were oblivious of the whole world, and of
all that was going on around them. They did not see old Trude standing
near by, with folded hands, her face radiant with delight; they did not
see her follow Mr. Ebenstreit, who had glided noiselessly out of the
room. They did not hear the door creak on its hinges, as she closed it
behind her, and left them alone and unobserved in the silent chamber.
And, though the two had remained, though hundreds and hundreds of eyes
had been fastened on them inquiringly, what would they have cared? They
would, nevertheless, have still been alone with love, with happiness,
and with the joy of reunion.

Her head still rested on his breast; he still pressed her to his heart.
"Marie, the dream of my whole life is now fulfilled; I hold you in
my arms, you are mine! The restless wanderer has at last crossed the
threshold of the promised land, and love and peace bid him welcome."

"Yes, my Philip," she murmured, softly, "love and peace bid him
welcome. Pain has left us for evermore, and we shall be happy!"

"Yes, happy, Marie! Look up, darling, that I may read love in your dear
eyes!"

With his hand he attempted to raise her head, but she only pressed it
the more firmly to his breast.

"No, Philip, let my head still rest on your bosom; let me dream on for
a little while."

"Marie, I have yearned to see these dear eyes for two long years; look
up, my darling!"

"Not yet, Philip," she whispered, entwining her arms more closely
around her lover, her countenance still hid in his bosom. "Let me
first tell you something, Philip! I have been ill, very ill, and it
was thought I would die. If you should find me a little changed, a
little pale, my beloved, it will only be because I have not yet quite
recovered, but am only steadily improving. Remember this, and do not be
alarmed. Look at me! Welcome, welcome, my Philip!"

When she raised her head, a radiant expression of happiness rested on
her features; her lips were crimson, her eyes shone lustrously, and the
death-roses on her cheeks burned brightly. Death had, perhaps, been
touched by the supreme happiness of these two beings, who had been
wandering under a thunder-cloud of sorrow for long years, and who now
fondly believed that they had at last found a refuge from the storms
of life, and a balsam for all pain. Death, who comes from God, had,
perhaps, been moved with divine pity, and had lain concealed behind
these flushed cheeks and crimson lips, permitting joy to illumine
Marie's countenance with a last golden ray of the setting sun, and to
give her for a brief moment the appearance of health and strength.

Philip, at least, did not see the grim messenger; he was deceived by
these death-roses, by this ray of sunshine. He had expected to find
Marie in a much worse condition. Gedicke's letter had carried the
conviction to his heart that he would find her in a hopeless, in a
dying condition, and that nothing buoyed her up, and withheld her from
the clutches of the grave, but her longing to see him once more. Now
she stood before him with rosy cheeks, with a bright smile on her lips,
and with eyes that sparkled with joy.

"Marie, my jewel, my longed-for happiness, how lovely, how beautiful
you are! Why speak of illness and of pale cheeks! I see nothing of all
this; I see you healthy, happy, and beautiful--as beautiful as when I
often saw you in my dreams in the long nights of the past--as beautiful
as I have ever conceived you to be when standing before the Madonnas
of Raphael and Giulio Romano in Rome and Florence. 'Gaze at me with
your dark eyes,' I said to them. 'You would ask me whether I admire and
adore you. True, you are lovely, but I know a Marie who is lovelier
and purer than you all! I know a Marie whose eyes are radiant with the
light of womanhood, purity, and virtue. She is not so coquettish as you
are, Maria della Ledia; her eyes are not so dreamy as yours, Maria di
Fuligno. But they are resplendent with holy love, and noble thoughts
dwell on her chaste brow!' And now I have thee, and now will I hold
thee, my Marie, and nothing can separate us more!"

"No," she said, thoughtfully, "nothing henceforth can now separate us
but death!"

"Death has nothing to do with us, my darling. We shall live, and live a
joyous, happy life!"

"Yes, live, live!" she cried, in such longing, passionate tones, and
with so sad an expression of countenance, that Moritz's heart quaked.
It seemed to him as though a string had broken on the harp on which she
had just begun to play the joyous song of life and of love, and at this
moment he saw grim death peering forth from behind the roses on her
cheeks, and the smile on her crimson lips.

"Come, my darling, let us be seated. There is your throne, and here at
your feet lies he who adores you, looking up at his Madonna, at his
Marie, with ecstacy."

He bore her tenderly to the arm-chair, and then seated himself at her
feet. He looked up at her with an expression of deep devotion, his
folded hands resting on her lap. She bowed down over him and stroked
with her pale little hand his black, curly hair, and the broad forehead
she had once seen so gloomy and clouded, and which was now as clear and
serene as the heaven in her own breast.

"I have thee at last once more, thou star of my life! When I regard
thee, I feel that life is, indeed, beautiful, and that one hour of
bliss is not too dearly purchased with long years of suffering and
want. We paid dearly, Philip, but now we have the longed-for happiness.
We have it and will hold it fast; nothing on earth shall tear it from
us?"

"No, nothing on earth, my beloved! Like Odysseus, I have now returned
from my wanderings through life, and here I lie at the feet of my
Penelopeia; like him, I have driven off the suitors who aspired to the
favor of my fair one. Was it not a suitor, who slipped out at the door
when I entered?"

"A suitor of the past," replied Marie, smiling. "Did you not recognize
him?"

"Have I ever known him? But what do we care, now that he has gone!
I am not compelled to drive him off, nor yet to hang old Trude as a
go-between, as Odysseus did the old woman of whom Homer tells us."

Philip and Marie both laughed. It was the innocent childlike laughter
with which happiness illumines even the gravest countenances, and which
permits those who have been sorely tried, and have suffered greatly,
to find the innocence of youth and the smile of childhood again on the
threshold of paradise regained.

"Marie, how beautiful you are when you laugh! Then it seems as though
all these years of sorrow had not been--as though we had only been
dreaming, and now awake to find that we are again in the little room
under the roof. You are once more my charming young scholar, and
Professor Moritz has just come to give Miss von Leuthen a lesson in
the Italian language. Yes, that is it, we are still the same; and see!
there lie the flowers on your table, just as they were when old Trude
conducted me to your room to give you your first lesson."

He took a handful of flowers from the table and held them between his
folded hands. "You dear flowers! She is your god and your goddess! Like
God she made you of nothing, and, like the goddess Flora, she strews
you over the pathway of humanity; but to-day you shall receive the most
glorious reward for your existence--to-day you shall adorn her, my fair
Flora!"

He sprang up, seized whole handfuls of violets, pinks, lilies, and
forget-me-nots, and strewed them over Marie's head, in her lap, and all
over and about her.

"Let me strew your path with flowers for the future, my darling. May
your tender little feet never more be wounded by the sharp stones!
may you never again be compelled to journey over rough roads! Flowers
shall spring up beneath your footsteps, and I will be the gardener who
cultivates them."

"You are my heaven-flower yourself, my imperial lily," said she,
extending her hands. He took them in his, pressed them to his lips, and
then resumed his former seat at her feet.

"How handsome you are, Philip, and how strong you look, tanned by the
sun of Italy and steeled by the combat with life! Misfortune has made a
hero of you, my beloved. You are taller and prouder than you were."

"And are you not a heroine, Marie, a victorious heroine?"

"A victorious heroine!" she said, sadly. "A heroine who is struggling
with death! Do not look at me with such consternation, Philip--I am
well. It is only that joy and surprise have made me feel a little weak.
You do not find that I look ill, and therefore I am not ill; you say I
will recover, and therefore I will recover. Tell me once more that I am
not ill, that I will recover!"

"You will recover; you will bloom again in happiness and joy."

"You say these words in a sad voice, as though you did not believe
them yourself! But I will not die; no, I will not! I am too young; I
have not lived long enough. Life still owes me so much happiness. I
will not die! I will live--live!"

She uttered this in loud tones of anguish, as though Life were an armed
warrior to whom she appealed to defend her against Death, who was
approaching her with a murderous dagger in his bony hand. But Life had
no longer a weapon with which to defend her; it timidly recoiled before
the king who is mightier than the King of Life, and whose sceptre is
a scythe with which he mows down humanity as the reaper harvests the
grain of the fields.

"Philip, my Philip," cried Marie, her countenance quivering with pain,
"remain with me, my beloved! It is growing so dark, and--There, how my
breast pains me again! Alas, you have scattered flowers at my feet, but
the thorns have remained in my heart! And they pain so terribly! it is
growing dark--dark!--Trude!"

The old woman, who had been waiting at the threshold with the
humility of a faithful dog, threw the door open and rushed forward
to her darling, who lay in the arm-chair, with closed eyes, pale and
motionless, her head resting on Moritz's arm.

"Trude, call the physician!" cried he, in dismay. "Run for assistance!
Run! run! She must not die! She shall not leave me! O God, Thou canst
not desire to tear her from me! Thou permittedst me to hear her voice
when in Rome, when widely separated from her, and I answered this call
and flew here on the wings of the wind. It cannot be Thy will that I am
to be surrounded by eternal silence--that I am never more to hear this
dear voice!--Help me, Trude! Why do you not call the physician?"

"It is useless, dear sir, useless," whispered Trude, whose tears were
still flowing in torrents. "All the physicians say that her case is
hopeless; they told me that this would occur, and that all would then
be at an end. But perhaps this is only a swoon; perhaps we can awaken
her once more."

Was it the strengthening essence with which Trude rubbed her forehead,
the strong musk-drops which she poured between Marie's parted lips,
or was it the imploring voice in which Moritz called her name, and
conjured her not to leave him?--Marie opened her eyes and cast a look
of ineffable tenderness at the pale, horror-stricken countenance
of her lover, who was again kneeling at her feet, his arms clasped
convulsively around her person, as if in a last despairing effort to
withhold her from the King of Terrors, who had already stretched out
his skeleton arm to grasp his victim.

"I am dying, Philip!" murmured Marie, in low tones, and her voice
resounded on his ear like the last expiring notes of an Æolian harp.
"It is useless to deceive you longer; the truth is evident, and we must
both bear it as we best may."

"Marie, I cannot, cannot bear it!" he sobbed, burying his countenance
in her lap. "God is merciful; He will take pity on me, on my agony, on
my love! God will grant you recovery!"

"The only recovery God vouchsafes me is at hand," whispered Marie.
"Recovery is death! I have felt it approaching for many, many
days--in the long, fearful nights I have lain awake struggling with
this thought, unable to comprehend it, and doubting God's mercy and
goodness. My defiant heart refused to submit humbly to God's will, and
still continued to entreat a little more life, a little happiness, of
Him who is inexorable, and upon whose ear the wail of man strikes in
as low tones as the last breath of the insect we tread under foot. I
comprehended, finally, that all complaints were useless--that nothing
remained but to submit, to humble myself, to thank God for each hour of
life as for a gracious boon, and to consider each ray of sunshine shed
on my existence as a proof of His goodness. I have conquered myself; my
stubborn heart has been softened, and no longer rebels against the hand
of the Almighty, to whom men are as worms, and as the grain of sand to
the mighty glacier that touches the clouds. You, too, must be gentle
and submissive, my Philip. Learn to submit to the eternal laws of God!"

"No, I cannot," said he, in heart-rending tones; "I cannot be
submissive. My heart is rebellious; in my anguish I could tear it from
my breast when I see you suffer!"

"I am not suffering, Philip," said she, her countenance radiant
with a heavenly smile. "All pain has now left me, and I feel as
though I floated in a rosy cloud, high above all earthly sorrow.
From this height I see how paltry all earthly sorrows are, and how
little they deserve a single tear. Here below, all is paltry and
insignificant--above, all is great and sublime. Oh, Philip, how sweet
it will be to meet you once more up there! In blissful embrace, our
spirits will soar from star to star, and the glories of all worlds and
the mysteries of all creations will be made manifest to us, and our
life will be bliss and joy unending! The cloud is soaring higher and
higher! Philip, I see thee no longer!"

"But I see thee, my darling," cried Philip, despairingly, as he clasped
her sinking head between his hands, and covered it with tears and
kisses. "Do not leave me, Marie; stay with me, thou sole delight of my
life! Do not leave me alone in the world."

His imploring voice had that divine power which, as we are told by the
Greeks, breathed life into stone, and transformed a cold, marble statue
into a warm, loving woman. His imploring voice recalled the spirit of
the loving woman to the body already clasped in the chilly embrace of
death.

"You shall not be solitary, Philip," she murmured; "it is so sad to
have to struggle alone through life. I must go, Philip, but you shall
not be left alone."

"But I will be if you leave me, Marie; therefore stay! Oh, stay!"

"I cannot, Philip," gasped Marie, in low tones. "You must place another
at your side! Another must fill my place. Hear my last wish, my last
prayer, Philip. Take a wife, marry!"

"Impossible, Marie, you cannot be so cruel as to desire this."

"I have thought of this a great deal, have struggled with my own heart,
and am now convinced that you must do so. You must have a wife at your
side who loves you. Swear that you will seek such a wife. Swear this,
and accord me a last joy on earth."

She raised her hand once more, and her dying gaze was fastened on him
imploringly. He could not resist it; he clasped the pale fingers in his
quivering, burning hands, and swore that he would do as she bade him.

A faint smile flitted over her countenance, and her eyes sought out
the faithful old woman, who had loved her like a mother, and who found
it no longer necessary to conceal her tears, as she had been doing for
many months, in holy and heroic deception.

"Trude," whispered Marie, "you have heard his vow, and you must remind
him of it, and see that he keeps it, and marries within the year. Kiss
me, Trude, and swear that you will do so!"

Old Trude had no other words than her tears, no other vow than the kiss
which her trembling lips pressed on her darling's brow, already covered
with that cold, ominous perspiration which gathers, like the morning
dew of another world, on the countenances of those who stand on the
threshold of the grave, and is symbolical of the new life to which they
will awaken on high.

"Philip, my beloved, you too must kiss me!" whispered Marie, in eager
tones. "Kiss me! Hold me fast! Drive death, grim, fearful death, away!"

He kissed her, entwined his arms around her, and pressed her to his
bosom. Trude stretched out her arms imploringly into empty space, as if
to ward off "grim death!"

But he is king of kings, and claims as his own all who live on earth!

Silence reigned in the little chamber. Holy is the hour of
separation--holy the moment in which the immortal soul is torn from
its earthly abode, and this holy moment must not be desecrated with
lamentations and tears!

After a long interval, the heart-rending cry of a man, and the low wail
of a woman broke in upon the stillness.--Marie had died, but a smile
still rested on her lips.



CHAPTER IV.

GOETHE'S RETURN FROM ROME.


Goethe has returned! Goethe is once more in our midst! He arrived quite
unexpectedly yesterday evening, repaired at once to his summer-house in
the park, raised the little draw-bridge, and has yet seen no one!

This was the intelligence that ran like wildfire through the good city
of Weimar on the morning of the nineteenth of June, 1788, exciting
joy and expectation in the minds of many, and perhaps also some
little discontent in the minds of others. All were anxious to see
the poet once more, who had been enthroned in Weimar as the genius
of gayety and happiness, and who had taken these two most beautiful
ideals of humanity with him on leaving the capital of Thuringia.
Weimar had changed greatly since Goethe's departure. It had, as the
Duke Charles August often complained to his friends, become dull, and
"terribly old fogyish." The genial freedom from care and restraint,
and the poetic enthusiasm and exaltation had all vanished with Goethe.
Weimar lay slumbering in its dullness and tranquillity on the banks
of the murmuring Ilm, and the staid and honest burghers of the good
city considered it a positive blessing that this restless spirit had
departed. The court was also very quiet--so quiet that the genial
Duchess Amelia could no longer endure it, and was preparing to journey
to Italy in the company of her friends, Wieland and Herder, to
indemnify herself under the bright skies of Italy, and in the midst of
rare works of art, for the dull life she had led for the past few years.

No wonder that the intelligence of Goethe's return agitated the little
city, and infused a little life and excitement into slumbering society!

Goethe's servant had appeared at the ducal palace at an early hour
on the following morning, had communicated the glad tidings of his
master's arrival to the duke's chamberlain, and had begged to be
informed at what hour the privy-councillor would be permitted to pay
his respects. The duke had briefly replied that he would send the
privy-councillor word; nothing more! But half an hour later, instead
of sending word, the duke quietly left his palace, crossed the Market
Square with hasty footsteps, and passed on through the streets, into
the park, and along its shady avenues to Goethe's little summer-house.

The bridge was raised, but the Ilm was almost completely dried up by
the summer heat, and but a narrow, shallow rivulet flowed in the midst
of its sandy bed. What cared he, the genial duke, although his boots
and Prussian uniform should become somewhat soiled in wading across to
the little island? He had not come to pay a visit of state, but only
to call on his dear friend in an unceremonious manner, and to give him
a warm embrace, after a long separation. Therefore, forward, through
mud and water! On the other side lies the modest little house of his
cherished friend! Forward!

Goethe's servant had not yet returned from the city; no one was there
to announce the duke, and, if there had been, Charles August would have
preferred coming unannounced into his friend's presence; he desired to
surprise him. Noiselessly he crept up the stairway, and threw the door
open.

"Welcome, my Wolf! A thousand welcomes! To my arms, beloved brother!"

"His highness the duke! How unexpected an honor!"

Goethe rose hastily from the sofa, and bowed profoundly to the duke,
who still stood before him with extended arms.

"And in this manner you receive your friend, Wolf? Truly, I came
running here like a lover to a rendezvous with his adored, and now you
receive me with a cold greeting?"

"I beg leave to assure your highness, that the heart of your humble
servant is also filled with joy, in beholding his dear master once
more, and that this moment reconciles me to my return, and--"

"Wolf, tell me are you playing a comedy? Are you only jesting, or has
your sojourn in Rome really made you the stiff and courtly old fellow
you appear to be?"

"I a stiff old fellow? I a courtly old fellow?" asked Goethe, with
sparkling eyes; and now he was again the Goethe with the Apollo
countenance, as he had been in Rome and Castel Gandolfo--once more the
poet of Italy, and no longer the privy-councillor of Weimar.

As the friends now looked at each other--as the duke's merry brown
eyes encountered Goethe's fiery, passionate gaze--the last vestiges
of the privy-councillor fell from the poet. His handsome countenance
brightened, and with a cry of joy he sprang forward, threw himself into
the duke's arms and kissed his eyes and lips.

"May God forgive me if I am guilty of disrespect! I had determined to
return home as a well-trained and respectable privy-councillor and
courtier. But I am not to blame if the sight of your dear countenance
scatters all my good resolutions to the winds. Let me embrace, let me
kiss you once more, my dear duke and friend!"

And he did so, again and again, with great ardor. The duke's laughter
while submitting to this embrace seemed to be only assumed in order
to conceal his emotion, and to make his friend believe that the tears
which stood in his eyes had not come from the depths of his heart, but
were only the consequence of his violent laughter.

"I see you are still the same wild, unaccountable genius, Wolf! You are
as capricious as a beautiful woman, and as imperious as a tyrant! You
are still the same Goethe!"

"Not at all times, my duke. I have determined that the sober-minded
world here in Weimar, shall behold in me a sober-minded
privy-councillor, and that I will give no further cause of offence to
madame the Duchess Louise, and all other sensitive souls, by my wild
behavior. But, for a quarter of an hour, and in the presence of my dear
master, I let the mask fall, and am once more the old Goethe or the
young Goethe. Your Goethe, my duke and friend!"

"Thanks, Wolf, thanks! I hardly knew what to make of you, and was quite
ill at ease when I saw you standing before me with your formal manner
and courtier countenance. I thought to myself, 'This is not the Goethe
you expected to see; this is only his outward form; the inner man has
remained in Italy.'"

"Alas! that such should be the case, my duke, but it is so," sighed
Goethe. "The inner man has not yet quite returned; only after a painful
struggle will it be able to tear itself from the beautiful home of art
and poetry. But since I see you, my dear friend--since I behold your
brave, handsome countenance, I feel that my wounds are healing--that I
am coming home! They are healing under your loving glances, and I begin
to rejoice in my return, and to consider what I did only from a sense
of duty as a real pleasure."

"Then you did not return gladly, Wolf? It was reason, and not your
heart, that prompted you to return!"

"It was reason only, my duke--the conviction that it was necessary
for my well-being. Do not be angry with me for saying so, but in this
hour my heart must be laid bare to my friend, and he must see and read
its every quivering fibre. No, my duke, my heart did not prompt me to
return. I returned only because I recognized the necessity of so doing,
if I hoped to accomplish any thing great and beautiful. I was compelled
to flee from Italy, the siren in whose toils I lay bound, and by whom
my being was about to be divided, making of the poet that I really
am, or at least can become, a talent-monster, who acquires a certain
artistic ability in many things, without attaining to perfection in
any one of them. Had I remained in Italy, I would perhaps at last have
been able to paint a tolerably good aquarelle picture, and to make a
passably good statue according to all the rules of art, and might also
have manufactured dramas and poems in my hours of leisure; but I would
have knocked in vain at the temple-gates of each individual art. Not
one of them would have been thrown open to permit me to enter, as the
elect, the chosen! At the door of each temple I would have been turned
away, and advised to apply for my reward at the abode of another art,
and thus I would be considered a worthy applicant nowhere! He who
desires to accomplish something great and complete, must bend all the
energies of his soul to the accomplishment of one end. He must not
diffuse his talents, but must concentrate them in the attainment of one
object. He must strive upward; in the spirit he must see before him a
summit to which he is determined to climb, removing all obstacles that
may retard his progress. This conviction forces itself upon me, and I
also became convinced that I possessed only one talent--that is, but
one great talent--that could carry me to the summit, and this talent
is my talent of poetry. All others are but secondary; and when I take
this view of myself, I am reminded of the magnificent marble group in
Rome, 'the Nile, with its Tributaries.' There lies the godlike form in
its manliness, strength, grandeur, and sublimity. On his sinewy arms,
mighty shoulders, and muscular legs, a number of beautiful little
boys are gracefully dancing, reclining, and playing with his limbs.
These are the tributaries of the god Nile, who lies there in sublime
composure. He would still be a god although he were entirely alone. We
would still admire him and rejoice in his beauty, although he were not
surrounded by these graceful, boyish forms. But they would be nothing
without him, would not be able to stand alone, and would be passed
by as unworthy of attention, if they were not reposing on the grand
central form. Thus it is with all my other talents and capacities:
they are only the little boys of the statue, and with me the poet is
the main figure. Yes, your highness, thus it is with me. My poetic
talent is my Nile, and my other little talents are the tributaries that
flow into my being to strengthen me, to make the waves of poetry surge
higher, and fill the air with music that shall resound throughout the
world, and find an echo in heaven and in hell!"

"Oh, Wolf!" cried the duke, now that Goethe had paused for a moment,
"how happy I am to have you once more in our midst! It is as though the
sun had returned, and I had just stepped out of a dark cellar into the
fresh, free air, and were walking hand in hand with a friend toward a
glittering temple that had been closed to me during his absence. Wolf,
I was becoming a very prosaic and stupid fellow, and had almost begun
to consider the dark cellar in which I was sojourning an agreeable
dwelling. I thank God that you have come to relieve me from this curse!
Speak on, my friend; your words are as sweet music that I have not
heard for a long time."

"I must speak on, my duke; I must unburden my heart completely, for
who knows whether it will often open itself again, and lay aside
the covering in which I enveloped the poor thing when I took leave
of bright, sunny Italy? But I must admit that, since I crossed the
borders of Germany, I have been twenty times on the point of retracing
my footsteps, in defiance of reason and conviction--on the point of
giving up every thing, and deciding rather to live in Italy as a happy,
worthless dilettante, than to dwell in Germany as a high official and
celebrated poet. I am angry with myself, but I must nevertheless make
the admission. I feel that I have been disenchanted since my return
to Germany: I now view, with sobered sight, many things that memory
painted in glowing colors, and the result is that I am by no means
pleased. I long to return to Italy; and yet, in my inmost soul, I
feel that I must remain here, in order to become that for which Fate
has destined me. I feel like crying, as a bad boy over his broken
playthings, and I could box my own ears for entertaining such a desire.
I now conjure you, my duke and friend, stand at my side and help me to
allay the fury of the storm that is raging in my inmost being. See,
what an infamous irony this is on my being! I have happily passed the
stormy period of my poetic labors, and have freed myself from the
bombast of sentimentality. I despise all this from the bottom of my
heart, and am at times so angry with myself about that sentimental
fellow, 'Werther,' that I would gladly disown him. Now a new storm is
raging within me in its former fury, and my heart longs for Italy as
for a lost paradise. So help me, duke; help me to become a sensible man
once more!" Goethe stamped furiously on the floor as he uttered these
words, and his eyes sparkled with anger.

"Now you look like the Thunderer, like Jupiter," said the duke,
regarding him lovingly. "You have returned handsomer and sublimer than
when you departed, and I can readily comprehend that all the goddesses
and nymphs of Italy have endeavored to retain in their happy land the
heavenly being in whom the sublimity of Jove and the beauty of Apollo
are united."

"Duke!" cried Goethe, furiously, "I conjure you, speak seriously! Do
not annihilate me with your ridicule!"

"Well, then, we will be serious," said Charles August, tenderly. "Come
here, Wolf, and seat yourself at my side on this little sofa, where we
have so often sat together in brotherly love. Thus it shall be to-day
again. I see, to my joy, Wolf, that you are unchanged, and your quick
temper and fierce anger against yourself are therefore refreshing to
your old friend. Now let us see what can be done; but this I tell you
in advance--you must overcome your longing to return to Italy, you must
remain here, for only in tranquillity and peace can you attain the
high ends of your existence, and climb to the summit of which you were
speaking. Of this you were convinced yourself, and on this account you
left Italy and returned home. Therefore be true to yourself, you dear,
great fellow, and journey on toward your high aim with undaunted heart
and steadfast gaze! Accomplish your sublime mission as poet, and I will
endeavor to procure you the leisure and honorable retirement essential
to your poetic labors."

"My duke and master, you are indeed my savior!" cried Goethe; "you
have spoken what I scarcely dared utter! Yes, that is it! Leisure and
retirement I must have. My official sprang wholly from my personal
relations to your highness. Let our old ones be modified--let a new
relation hereafter exist between us. Let me fill the whole measure of
my existence at your side, so that my strength may be concentrated and
made available, like a newly-opened, collected, and purified spring
situated on an eminence, from which your will can readily cause its
waters to flow in any direction! Continue to care for me as you have
heretofore done; thus you will do more for me than I could accomplish
for myself, more than I can desire or demand. Yes, I hope that I will
become more to you than I have hitherto been, if you will only command
me to do that which no one can do but myself, and commission others
to do the rest. I can only say: 'Master, here am I, do with me as you
will.'"[44]

"Let me first tell you, Wolf, what it is that no one but yourself
can do: gladden my heart, elevate my mind, and restore sunshine to
our little city. During your absence I have made a fearful discovery
concerning myself; I am fast becoming an 'old fogy,' and if new life
and activity are not infused into my sluggish spirit, I greatly fear
that my case will soon be hopeless. As it is, I resemble the stagnant
waters of a ditch. In its depths swims many a fine fish and blossoms
many a fair flower, but the concealing duck-weed covers its surface and
hides the treasures that lie below. You and you alone can brighten the
mirror of my soul. And if you but now called yourself my servant, I can
reverse your poetic phrase, and say to you: 'Servant, here am I--do
with your master as you will.'"

"See, my duke, you make me blush for shame. You alone are master, and
you only can do as you will."

"Then let me tell you what my will is, Wolf, and I will be brief, for
I observe that the quarter of an hour to which you proposed to limit
your outpouring of the heart is almost at an end, and the worthy
face of my cabinet president and privy-councillor is already peering
forth from behind the godlike countenance of the poet. I wish you to
retain the rank and dignities with which you were invested when you
left for Italy. You are herewith relieved of the duty of presiding
in my cabinet and in the war office. You, however, still retain the
right to attend the various meetings, if you should find time to do
so, and whenever you appear you will seat yourself in the chair set
apart for me. I will see that instructions to this effect are issued.
On the other hand, you will retain the superintendence of the mining
commission, and all other institutions of science and art which you
now hold. Your chief occupation will, however, be to stand at my side
as friend and councillor, and to tell me the plain, unvarnished truth
at all times. These are your duties, and you will now perceive that I
have known how to read your soul, although we were widely separated,
and that I have endeavored to make your future honorable, and not too
burdensome. And, that you may not suppose, Wolf, that these are only
fine phrases and that these thoughts first occurred to me in your
presence to-day, I have brought you the written order addressed to the
bureau of my cabinet, and the letter in which I acquainted you with all
these matters, and which I was about to forward to you in Rome when the
letter came announcing your departure from that city."

"As if my dear, my noble duke ever needed witnesses to confirm his
statements," cried Goethe, as he gently refused to receive the papers
which the duke held in his extended hand.

"Ah, I perceive the cabinet president is himself once more," cried
the duke, laughing. "I must now retire to my ducal palace. Others
will, I have no doubt, think I have played the barbarian and tyrant by
remaining with you so long, and thereby robbing them of the time to
which they imagine they have a fairer title."

"Duke, I know of no one who has a higher and better title to my time
and person than yourself, my dear patron and friend."

"Wolf, it is well that I alone have heard these words," cried Charles
August, gayly; "I believe there is a woman in whose ears they would
have had a discordant sound. The responsibility must not rest on me, if
a difficulty should arise on your first meeting. Therefore I am going,
Wolf, although I am very curious to hear of your promised land and of
your discoveries and purchases, but for this I will have to wait till
the afternoon. You will, of course, dine with me to-day, Wolf, and
dispense a little of the incense of your eloquence on the altar of my
household gods. Farewell till we meet again, my returned wanderer! I
must, however, request you not to come as the privy-councillor, but as
the poet. You may show your official mask and the star on your breast
to the court, but appear before me with your Apollo countenance and the
stars of your eyes."

"My dear duke," said Goethe, affectionately, "your presence has cheered
and strengthened me; I feel as though I had been bathing in nectar, and
had been refreshed with ambrosia. When I am with you, nothing will be
wanting to my joy and happiness. You must, however, not be angry, my
dear duke, if I should sometimes appear grave and stiller than usual
in the presence of others, and you will then know that it is only the
longing after the distant land of the gods that is tormenting me."

"I will know how to account for it, Wolf, and will respect your
longing; I very much doubt, however, whether others will be equally
considerate--I doubt whether one person of whom I am thinking will be
particularly pleased with such conduct on your part. Have you seen her
already, Wolf?"

"Whom does your highness mean?" asked Goethe, with a perfectly innocent
expression of countenance.

The duke laughed. "Oh, Wolf, Wolf, I hope you have not exchanged names,
as Hector and Patroclus exchanged armor, and become Von Stein.[45] I
hope you return to your old love, faithful and true. Ah, there I have
made a pun without intending it. Excuse me, I entertained no evil
design, but now that I have said it I will repeat it. You return to
your old love, faithful and true. Remain here, you must not accompany
me; I came _sans cérémonie_, and I will take my departure in like
manner. It is understood that we dine together to-day. Adieu!"

A cloud gathered on Goethe's brow as the duke left the room. "My old
love!" said he to himself, in low tones. "I wish he had not spoken that
word; it sounds so ridiculous!"



CHAPTER V.

ESTRANGEMENT.


Charlotte von Stein sat before her mirror, anxiously regarding her
countenance, and carefully examining each feature and every little
wrinkle that was observable on her clear forehead and cheeks.

"No," said she, with an air of joyous confidence, "no, it is not
visible; no one can read it in my face! It is a secret between myself
and my certificate of baptism!"

As intelligent as she was, Charlotte von Stein was yet subject to
that cowardly fear of her sex--the fear that her age might be read in
her countenance. She, too, was wanting in that courage which contents
itself with the eternal youth of the mind, and does not demand of its
covering that it retain no traces of the rude, unfeeling hand of Time.

A woman who loves has invariably the weakness to desire not to become
old, at least in the eyes of him whose image fills her heart--in the
eyes of him she loves. She does not consider that, in so doing, she
insults the intelligence of the object of her devotion, by admitting
that he thinks more of the outward form than of the inner being, and
loves with the eyes only, and not with the mind.

In the first years of their acquaintance, and in the incipient stage of
their attachment, Charlotte von Stein had always listened to Goethe's
protestations of love with a merry smile, and had invariably replied:
"I am too old for you! Remember that I am some years older than
you--that I am old enough to be your mother." When she made this reply,
Goethe would laugh, and kiss with passionate tenderness the fair hand
of the woman who offered him motherly friendship, and whom he adored
with all the ardor of a lover.

But ten long years had passed since then! Charlotte thought of this
while looking at herself in the mirror, and she sighed as she admitted
to herself that she had committed a fault--a great fault, for she had
left the cool regions of motherly tenderness, and had permitted herself
to be carried away by the tide of Goethe's passion; the two flames in
her heart had been united into the one godlike flame of love. It had
seemed so sweet to be adored by this handsome man, and to listen to his
tender protestations and entreaties! It had been so charming to receive
each morning a letter filled with passionate assurances of love, and
vows of eternal fidelity! She had continued to read these ardent
letters until their words glowed in her own heart--until, at last, that
day came for the lovers of which Dante says: "On that day they read no
more"--the day on which Charlotte confessed to her enraptured lover
that his love was reciprocated.

A few days later, Goethe had written: "My /First and Best Friend/! I
have always had an ideal wish as to how I desired to be loved, and
have vainly sought its fulfilment in my illusive dreams. Now that the
world seems lighter to me each day, I see it realized in such a manner
that it can never be lost again. Farewell, thou fairest prospect of my
whole life; farewell, thou only one, in whom I need lose nothing, in
order to find all!"[46]

Charlotte had placed this little letter in a golden locket, from which
she was never separated; it had been her blissful assurance, her
talisman of eternal youth and joy.

She now turned from the mirror that utterly refused to say any thing
agreeable, and drew from her bosom her talisman, the locket that
contained the relic, the source of so much happiness, love, and delight.

Relics! Alas, how much that we consider real, present, and full of
life, is only a relic of the past! How few men there are in whose
hearts the love they once vowed should be eternal, is no more than
a relic!--the crumbling bone of a saint, to whom altars were once
erected, and who was adored as an immortal, unchangeable being. Alas,
Love, thou poor saint, how often are thy altars overthrown, and how
soon do thy youth and beauty fade, leaving nothing of thee but a little
dust and ashes--a relic!

Charlotte von Stein held the letter in her hands, but the thought did
not occur to her that it too was only a relic; she still considered it
the eloquent witness of passionate love. While reading the letter, a
bright smile had illumined her features, and imparted to them a more
youthful and beautiful expression. She now kissed the sheet of paper,
and replaced it in the locket which she wore on a golden chain around
her neck.

What need had she of written evidences? Was not _he_ near? would not
_his_ lips soon say more, in a single kiss, than thousands of written
words could tell?

"But he might have come sooner," whispered a voice in Charlotte's
heart; "it is very late."

Her beautiful brown eyes cast an anxious look toward the door, and she
smiled. Her heart throbbed in advance of time; it was still so early in
the morning, that it would hardly have been considered proper for him
to call at an earlier hour.

But now her heart beat quicker--she heard a step in the antechamber.

"It is he! Be firm, my heart, do not break with delight, for--yes, it
is he! it is he!"

She flew forward to meet him, with extended hands, her countenance
radiant with delight. "Welcome, Goethe, a thousand welcomes!"

"A thousand thanks, Charlotte, that your faithful, loving heart bids me
welcome!"

His large black eyes regarded her with all their former tenderness, and
then--then he kissed her hand.

Charlotte could scarcely restrain a sigh, and could not repress the
terror that pervaded her whole being. He felt the tremor in the hands
which he held in his own, and it was perhaps on this account that he
released them, threw his arms around her and pressed her to his heart.

"Here I am once more, Charlotte, and, as God is my witness, I return
with the same love and fidelity with which I left you! You can believe
this, my beloved, for it was on your account chiefly, or on your
account solely, that I returned at all. You must therefore love me
very dearly, Charlotte, and reward me, with faithful love and cordial
friendship, for the sacrifice I have made for your sake."

"It was, then, a sacrifice?" said she, with a touch of irony in her
voice that did not escape Goethe.

"Yes, my dearest, this return to cold, prosaic Germany, from the warm,
sunny clime of happy Italy, was a sacrifice."

"Then I really regret that you did not remain there," said she, with
more sensitiveness than discretion.

He looked at her wonderingly. "You regret that I have returned? I
supposed you would be glad."

"I can rejoice in nothing that I have attained by a sacrifice on your
part."

"My love, do not let us quarrel over words," said he, almost sadly.
"We will not unnecessarily pour drops of bitterness into the cup of
our rejoicing at being together once more. We have met again, and will
endeavor to hold each other fast, that we may never be divided."

"If an effort is necessary, then we are already half divided."

"But I have come home in order that we may be reunited, wholly and
joyfully," said Goethe, moved to kindness and generosity by the tears
which stood in her eyes, and the annoyance and sadness that clouded her
countenance, rendering it neither younger nor more beautiful.

But remembrances of the past smiled on him in the lustrous eyes of the
woman he had loved so ardently for ten years, and it was still a very
comforting feeling, after having been tossed about by the storms of
life for so long a time, to return once more to his heart's home, to
lie once more in the haven of happiness and love, where there were no
more storms and dangers, and where the wearied wanderer could enjoy
peaceful rest, and dream sweet dreams.

He seated himself at Charlotte's side on the sofa, laid his arm
around her neck, took her hand in his own, looked lovingly into her
countenance, and began to tell her of his journey--of the little
accidents and occurrences that can only be verbally imparted.

She listened attentively; she rejoiced in his passionate eloquence,
in his glowing descriptions of his travels, and yet--and yet, as
interesting as this was there was nevertheless another theme that would
have been far more so--the theme of his love, of his longings to see
her, and of his delight in being once more reunited with his Charlotte,
and in finding her so beautiful, so unchanged.

But Goethe did not speak of these things; and, instead of contenting
herself with reading his love in his tender glances, his smiles,
and his confiding and devoted manner, her heart thirsted to hear
passionate assurances of love fall from his lips. Her countenance
wore a listless expression, and she did not seem to take her usual
lively interest in his words. Goethe observed this, and interrupted
his narrative to tell her that he was delighted to be with her once
more, and that she was still as beautiful and charming as ever.
Hereupon Charlotte burst into tears, and then suddenly embraced him
passionately, and rested her head on his breast.

"Oh! let no estrangement occur between us; do not become cold and
reserved to me too, as you are to the rest of the world!"

"Am I that?" asked he, with an offended air. From her at least he had
not deserved this reproach, and it affected him disagreeably, casting a
damper over the gayety with which he had been narrating his adventures.
"Am I really cold and reserved?" he asked, as she did not reply, for
the second time.

"Yes, Wolf," said she, with vivacity, "you know that you are; the world
accuses you of being so."

"Because I am not like a market-place, open to the inspection of every
fool, and in which the inquisitive rabble can gaze at, handle, and
criticise every thing, as though the holiest thoughts of the soul were
mere wares exposed for sale!--because I am rather to be compared to a
fortress surrounded by a high wall, which opens its well-guarded gates
to the initiated and chosen only. In this sense I admit that that which
is called the world, and which is in reality only the inquisitive,
gossipping rabble, composed chiefly of individuals who make great
pretensions to intellectuality, but are generally empty-headed--that
this world calls me cold and reserved, I admit. But have I ever been so
toward my friends, and, above all, toward you?"

"No, Heaven be thanked! no, my beloved Wolf!" cried Charlotte, in eager
and tender tones, well aware that she had committed an error, which
she wished to repair; "no, toward me you have always been friendly,
communicative, and open, and therefore--"

"And therefore, my love," said he, interrupting her, "therefore you
should not have reproached me, undeservedly, in the hour of our
reunion." He arose and took his hat from the table.

"Oh, Wolf!" cried she, anxiously, "you are not going?"

"I must, my dearest! I must first pay a few formal visits, to avoid
giving offence. I must call on some friends I expect to meet at the
ducal table to-day."

"Perhaps it was only on this account that you visited me?" said
Charlotte, the tears which she could no longer repress, gushing from
her eyes. "Wolf, did you visit me solely because you expected to meet
me in the ducal palace to-day?"

He regarded her with a look of distress and astonishment. "Charlotte,
dear Charlotte, is it possible that so great a change has come over you
in two short years?"

She started, and a glowing color suffused itself over her countenance;
the poor woman thought of what her mirror had told her but a short time
before, and Goethe's question awakened bitter reflections. "Am I really
so changed?" sighed she, and her head sank wearily upon her breast.

"No," cried he, earnestly, "no, Charlotte, you cannot have changed;
it is only that this first moment of reunion after a long separation
has affected us strangely. We will soon be restored to each other
completely, we will soon be reunited in love and friendship. Charlotte,
it is impossible that two years of separation can have torn asunder
the holy union of our souls! Let us strive to prevent so unhappy a
consummation; it would be a misfortune for me--yes, I may say, a
misfortune for you, too! I think we love each other so tenderly that we
should both endeavor, with the whole strength of our souls, to ward off
misfortune from each other. Let these be my farewell words, darling,
and, as I have just learned that you too will dine at court to-day, I
can joyfully say--till we meet again!"

He embraced her, and pressed a kiss on her lips, a kiss that wounded
her heart more than a cold leave-taking would have done; for this
gentle, friendly kiss seemed to her but as the second echo of what her
mirror had said! As the door closed behind his loved form, Charlotte
sank down on her knees, buried her face in the cushions of the sofa,
and wept bitterly.

His head erect, his countenance grave and earnest, Goethe walked on to
pay his calls; and those whom he thus honored found that be had come
home colder and more reserved than when he had departed. But, at the
banquet, in the ducal palace, he was neither cold nor reserved; there
he was eloquent and impassioned,--there enthusiastic words of poetic
description flowed like golden nectar from his smiling lips; there his
eye sparkled and his cheek glowed, and his illustration of life in
Italy awakened delight and admiration in the hearts of all--of all,
except Charlotte von Stein! She sat at Goethe's side, and he often
turned his lightning glance on her, as though speaking to her alone,
but Charlotte felt only that what he said was intended for all. Had he
but attempted to whisper a single word in her ear, had he given her
hand a gentle pressure, had he but made her some secret sign understood
by herself only, and permitted her to feel that something peculiar
and mysterious was going on in which they two alone participated! In
society, Goethe had formerly, before his journey to Italy, availed
himself of every little opportunity that arose to press her hand
and whisper loving words in her ear. To-day he was wanting in these
delicate little attentions--in these little love-signals, for which she
had so often scolded him in former times! She was therefore very quiet,
and did not join in the applause of the rest of the company. But,
amidst the admiration evoked by his eloquence, Goethe listened only
to hear a word of approval from Charlotte, and, when his friend still
remained silent, his animation vanished and his countenance darkened.

But they had loved each other too long and too tenderly not to be
alarmed by the thought of a possible coolness and separation. True,
Charlotte often wept in the solitude of her chamber, and accused him
of ingratitude; true, Goethe often grumbled in silence, and lamented
over Charlotte's irritability and sensitiveness, but yet he was earnest
in his desire to avoid all estrangement, and to restore to their hearts
the beautiful harmony that had so long existed.

He resumed the habit that had formerly given him so much delight--that
of writing to Charlotte almost daily. But her sensitive woman's ear
detected a difference in the melody of his letters; they were no longer
written in the same high, passionate key, but had been toned down to
a low, melancholy air. Her own replies were of a like character, and
this annoyed Goethe greatly. He abused the gloomy skies of Germany, and
lamented over the lost paradise of Italy; and Charlotte could not help
comprehending that she was the cause of his discontent and anger.

But still he visited her almost every day, and was always animated and
communicative in her society. He read portions of his newly-commenced
drama "Torquato Tasso," with her, told her of his plans for the future,
and permitted her to take part in his intellectual life. Then she would
soon forget her little sorrows and her woman's sensitiveness, and
become once more the intelligent friend, with the clear judgment and
profound understanding.

On an occasion of this kind, Goethe requested his "beloved friend" to
return the letters he had written to her during the two years of his
sojourn in Italy.

Charlotte looked at him in astonishment. "My letters--the dear letters
I have kept so sacred that I have not shown a single one of them to my
most intimate friends--these letters you desire me to return?"

"Certainly, my dear, I beg you to do so. I intend having an account of
my Italian journey published--have also promised Wieland some fragments
for his "Mercury," and, in order to prepare these for the press, it
will only be necessary to have the letters I have written to you
copied."

"Can this be possible, Wolf?" asked she, in dismay. "Do you really
intend to have the letters, written by you to me, read and copied by a
third person?"

"As a matter of course, I will first correct these letters, and leave
nothing in them addressed to you personally and intended for your dear
eyes only," replied Goethe, laughing. "I always had this end in view
while writing to you in Italy, and you will have observed that my
letters were always divided, to a certain extent, into two portions.
The first is addressed to you only, my dear Charlotte--to you, my
friend and my beloved--and this was filled with the words of love and
longing that glowed in my own heart. The second portion is a mere
narrative and description of what I have seen, heard, and done while in
Italy, and was intended for publication."

"But this is unheard of," cried Charlotte, angrily; "this experiment
does great honor to your cold calculation, but very little to your
heart."

"Charlotte, I am not aware of ever having done any thing discreditable
to my heart in my relations to you!"

"Relations to me!" she repeated, offended. "Certainly, this is an
entirely new name for the ardent love you once protested could never
expire in your heart."

"Charlotte, dear, beloved Charlotte!" he sighed, sadly, "do take
pity on us both. Be yourself once more. You were once so noble, so
lofty-minded; do not now fall from this high estate, but take a quiet,
unprejudiced view of our relations. Why should you reproach me for
desiring to have a portion of your letters published? Will they be any
the less your letters on that account?"

"They are not, and never were mine!" she replied, angrily; "they merely
chanced to be addressed to me--these letters, which you intended for
publication even while writing them, and which were so well concocted
that it will only be necessary to extract a few little elements of
feeling and sentiment to make the manuscript complete and ready for
the press. And I, poor, blinded simpleton, imagined that this Goethe,
who could leave me to go to Italy--I imagined that this Goethe, whom
my soul had followed with its sighs of affectionate longing, still
loved me. I was generous enough to believe that the thoughts, love, and
confidence contained in his letters were addressed to me only; but now
I must learn that I was nothing more to him than the representative
of the great hydra-headed monster, the public, and that he was only
informing it when he seemed to be speaking to me!"

"Charlotte, I conjure you, do not continue to talk in this manner; you
cannot know how your words grieve my heart! Charlotte, by the brightest
and most beautiful years of my life, I conjure you, do not step forth
from the pure and radiant atmosphere in which you have heretofore
appeared to me. I conjure you, my friend, by all the adoration, esteem,
and love which I have consecrated to you, do not descend from the altar
on which my love has placed you; do not join the throng of those women
who are unnecessarily jealous when they fancy their lovers not quite so
tender as usual. You are not one of them; remain, therefore, on your
altar, and allow me to worship you as I have heretofore done."

"You do well to say 'as you have done,' but as you no longer do," cried
Charlotte, bursting into tears, without considering that woman's tears
are but poor weapons to use against men, and that the woman must be
very young, very beautiful, and the object of great adoration, who can
afford to disfigure her countenance with tears and clouds of discontent.

Goethe looked at her in surprise and alarm, and his glance rested on
her countenance inquiringly, as though seeking the charm that had
formerly attracted him so irresistibly. Then, as she fastened her
tear-stained eyes on his countenance, he started and turned hastily
aside, as though some unwelcome vision had arisen before him.

The conviction now dawned on Charlotte that she had committed a grave
error; she quickly dried her eyes, and, with that power peculiar to
women, she even forced a smile to her lips.

"You turn from me, Wolf," said she, in tender tones, "you do not reply?"

"My dear," said he, gently, "as you have asked me no question, what
can I answer? You asserted that I no longer loved and adored you as
in former days. To such an assertion, Charlotte, I can make no reply;
I would consider it a sacrilegious breach of the union that has been
sanctified and confirmed by long years of love and fidelity, and that
should be elevated above all doubt and protestations."

"Then you love me, Wolf? You still love me?"

"Yes," said he; and it seemed to Charlotte as though he had laid a
peculiar emphasis on this little word. It sounded like another echo of
the ominous whisperings of her mirror.

For a moment both were silent, perhaps because Charlotte was too
completely absorbed in her own thoughts. When they conversed again it
was on an entirely different topic.

After a short time Goethe tenderly took leave of Charlotte, and left
the house; he hurried through the streets and entered the park, to the
densest and most obscure retreats of which he had so often revealed his
thoughts in past years. This park had been Goethe's true and discreet
friend for many years, and he now turned his footsteps once more toward
the favorite retreat in which he had so often poured out his sighs and
complaints in former days, when Charlotte had cruelly repelled the
advances of her tender friend and lover. Goethe suffered to-day also,
but his sufferings were not to be compared to those he had formerly
experienced in the same shady avenues. Then his soul was filled with a
despair that was tempted with hope and joyousness. For was there ever a
true lover whose ladylove had driven him to despair by her cruelty, who
did not nevertheless entertain a joyous hope that her hard heart would
at last be softened, and that he would yet become a _happy_ lover? Then
these avenues had often resounded with Goethe's sighs and lamentations,
and there the tears of wounded pride had often filled his eyes. To-day
he neither sighed nor lamented, and his eyes were tearless, but he
looked gloomy, and an expression of annoyance rather than of sadness
rested on his countenance. In silence he walked to and fro with hasty
strides; suddenly he raised the light cane which he held in his hand
and struck a sprig of blossoming woodbine from a vine that overhung
the walk, so violently that it fell to his feet; and then his lips
murmured: "She is very much changed. She has become an old woman, and
I--I cannot make myself ridiculous by playing the lover--no!"

He ceased speaking, without having finished his sentence, as if
alarmed at his own words. He then stooped down, picked up the sprig of
woodbine, and regarded it thoughtfully.

"Poor blossom," said he, gently, "I did wrong to strike you! You are
not beautiful, but you are very fragrant, and it is for this reason
probably that the kindly and delicate feeling of the people has given
you so pretty a name. They call you, 'The longer, the dearer!' I will
not tread you under foot, you poor 'the longer the dearer;' your
fragrance is very delightful, and somehow it seems to me as though
Charlotte's eyes were gazing at me from out your tiny cups."

He placed the flower in a button-hole of his coat, and, as though his
little "the longer the dearer" blossom had given him a satisfactory
solution of his heart-troubles, he left the shady retreat and went
toward an opening in the park. He walked rapidly, and was on the
point of turning into a path that led to his garden-house, when he
saw a young girl approaching from the other side of the road. She was
unknown to Goethe, and her whole appearance indicated that she did
not belong to that favored class that claims to constitute what is
called "society." The simple calico dress which enveloped her full
and graceful figure, the coarse shoes in which her little feet were
enclosed, and the white and delicate little ungloved hands, proclaimed
that she did not belong to "society." Moreover, the light little hat
which ladies of rank wore jauntily on one side of their powdered hair
at that time, was wanting. Her hair was uncovered, and surrounded her
lovely little head with a mass of sunny curls. Her countenance was
radiant with youth, innocence, and freshness; she blushed as her eyes
encountered Goethe's lightning glances. Her large blue eyes rested on
him with an expression of gentle entreaty and tender humility, and
a soft smile played about her pouting, crimson lips. This youthful,
charming apparition resembled but little the pale, faintly-colored
blossoms of the flower which he wore in his button-hole; she was more
like the rich mossrose-bud which nestled on the fair girl's bosom, and
with which she had confined the two ends of the lace shawl that hung
loosely over her beautiful shoulders.

Goethe now stood before her, regarding her with inquiring, wondering
glances. With a graceful movement the young girl raised her right hand,
in which she held a folded paper.

"Mr. Privy-Councillor, I beg you to take this and read it."

"What does this document contain?" asked Goethe, in tender tones.

"It is a petition from my brother in Jena," murmured her clear, silvery
voice. "I promised him to give it to the privy-councillor myself, and
to entreat him right earnestly to grant my dear brother's request. Dear
privy-councillor, please do so. We are such a poor and unhappy family;
we are compelled to work so hard, and we earn so little. We have to
study such close economy, and there are so few holidays in our life!
But it would be a glorious fête-day for us all if the privy-councillor
would grant what my dear brother so ardently desires."

Goethe's eyes were still fastened on the lovely apparition that stood
before him like an embodied Psyche. In her rich, youthful beauty she
seemed to him like some myrtle-blossom wafted over from sunny Italy.
"What is your name, my dear girl?" asked he.

"My name is Christiane Vulpius, Mr. Privy-Councillor," murmured she,
casting her eyes down.

"Not the daughter of that good-for-nothing drunkard, who--"

"Sir, he is my father," said she, interrupting him in such sad,
reproachful tones, that Goethe felt heartily ashamed of his
inconsiderate words, and took off his hat as he would have done to
a lady of rank. "Forgive me, mademoiselle, I did wrong. Excuse my
thoughtless words. But now I can readily comprehend that your family
must be poor and unhappy. It seems to me that misfortune has, however,
not dared to touch these rosy cheeks and lustrous eyes with its rude
fingers."

She smiled. "I am still so young, sir; youth is light-hearted and hopes
for better times. And then, when I grow weary of our dark little room,
I run here to the park. The park is every one's garden, and a great
delight for us poor people. Here I skip about, seek flowers in the
grass, and sing with the birds. Is not this enough to make me happy,
although hard work, poor fare, and much abuse, await me at home?"

"But it seems to me," said Goethe, taking the hand, which still held
the petition, gently in his own, "it seems to me that this fair hand
has no right to complain of hard work. It is as white as a lily."

"And this hand has made a great many lilies," rejoined she, smiling.
"My work consists in making flowers. I love flowers, and roam through
the woods all day long on Sundays, seeking beautiful flowers to copy
from. My field-flower bouquets are great favorites, and the milliners
pay me well for them. They are very fashionable, and the high-born
ladies at court all desire to wear field-flower bouquets on their hats.
Day before yesterday I furnished a field-flower bouquet, which the
milliner sold to Madame the Baroness von Stein, on the same day, and
yesterday I saw it on her hat."

The hand which but now had clasped the white tapering fingers of the
young girl so tenderly, trembled a little, and a shadow flitted over
his smiling countenance. Madame von Stein's name sounded strangely on
the young girl's lips; it seemed like a warning of impending danger. He
looked grave, and released her hand, retaining only the petition. "Tell
me what it contains," said he, pointing to the paper. "I would rather
read it from your lips than from the paper?"

"Mr. Privy-Councillor, it concerns my poor, dear brother. He is such
a brave, good fellow, and so diligent and learned. He lives in Jena,
translates books from the Italian and French, and sells them to
publishing houses. The office of secretary of the university library,
in Jena, is now vacant, and my brother desires it, and would be so
happy if he should receive the appointment! He has dared to address
you, Mr. Councillor, and to entreat you earnestly to use your influence
to secure him the situation. I have undertaken to deliver the petition,
and to say a great many fine phrases besides. Ah, Mr. Privy-Councillor,
I had written down a whole speech that I intended to make to you."

"Then let me hear this speech, my fair girl. The nightingales and
bullfinches have hushed their songs, and are waiting for you to begin."

"Sir," murmured she, blushing, "I do not know why it is, but I cannot."

He bent forward, closer to her side, so close that the wind blew her
golden locks against his cheek. "Why is it that you cannot, my fair
child? Why not let me hear your beautiful little speech?"

"Because, because--I have hitherto only seen you at a distance, and
then you looked so exalted, and walked with so much stiffness and
dignity, that I entertained the most profound respect for the proud old
privy-councillor, and now that I am near you I see, well--"

"Well?"

"Well," cried she, with a joyous peal of laughter, "I see that you are
much too young, that my speech is entirely inappropriate."

"Why so?" asked Goethe, smiling. "Try it, let me hear it, nevertheless."

She looked up at him with an inquiring, childlike expression. "Do you
believe that my beautiful speech would influence you and promote my
brother's interests? If you believe that, I will speak, for my brother
is a dear, good fellow, and I will do any thing to make him happy!"

"Then let us hear it," replied Goethe, delighted with the fair young
girl, whose beauty, grace, and naïveté, reminded him of the lovely
Leonora in Rome. Yes, it was she, it was Leonora, with this difference
only, that this fair girl was a northern version of the Leonora of the
south, but was none the less beautiful on that account. "Oh, Leonora,
you child of the sun and of Nature, am I really to be so blessed, am I
to find you here again--here where my heart was congealing, and longing
for the sunny rays of delight from a fair woman's eyes? Yes, Leonora,
this is your sweet smile and kindling, childlike glance; it is you, and
yet it is not you. God and Nature were reflected in your countenance, a
whole heaven shone in your features. Fair Nature is reflected in this
lovely countenance also, but I seek the divinity in vain, and instead
of heaven I find the joyous earth enthroned therein!"

Goethe was occupied with these thoughts while Christiane, blushing,
smiling, half-ashamed at times, and then again bold and fearless, was
declaiming her well-prepared speech. Too much of what was passing in
Goethe's mind must have been reflected in the tender, ardent glances
which rested on her countenance, for she suddenly broke off in the
midst of a sentence, murmured a few embarrassed words, blushed,
courtesied, and then turned and fled like a startled doe.



CHAPTER VI.

THE TWO POETS.


"She is bewitching," murmured Goethe, as the beautiful girl was lost to
view behind the green bushes that skirted the avenue. "I had no idea
that dull, sober Weimar contained such a treasure, and--"

"Goethe! Welcome, Goethe!" cried the joyous voice of a woman behind
him; "how delighted I am to meet you here!"

He turned hastily, and saw Madame von Kalb standing before him,
on the arm of a tall, fair-haired gentleman. This was the cause
of Christiane's flight. The beautiful girl had seen this lady and
gentleman coming. She was, therefore, not only beautiful, she was also
discreet and modest. Goethe said this to himself, while he kissed
Madame von Kalb's extended hand, and gayly responded to her greeting.

"The two gentlemen are, of course, acquainted," said she.

"I believe I have never had the honor," replied Goethe, who had again
assumed the cold reserve of the privy-councillor.

"Who does not know the greatest and most celebrated of Germany's
poets?" said the other gentleman, a slight flush suffusing itself over
his pale, hollow cheeks. "I have known the poet Goethe for a long
time; I was present when he visited the Charles School in Stuttgart.
He, of course, did not observe the poor scholar, but the latter was
delighted to see the poet Goethe. And he is now delighted to make the
acquaintance of the Privy-Councillor Goethe!"

Perhaps there was a slight touch of irony in these words, but his
large blue eyes beamed as mildly and lovingly as ever. A slight shadow
flitted over Goethe's brow.

"You are right," said he, "in reminding me that there are hours in
which the poet must be contented to perform the duties of an official.
By the document which I hold in my hand, you will perceive, my lady,
that I am an official who has duties to fulfil, and I trust that you
will, therefore, excuse me." He bowed formally, and passed on in the
direction of his garden-house.

"He is becoming colder and more reserved each day," said Madame von
Kalb. "He has been completely transformed since I first saw him here in
Weimar. Then, radiant and handsome as Apollo, flaming with enthusiasm,
carrying all hearts with him by his impetuosity and genial manner--then
we were forced to believe that earth had no barriers or fetters for
him, but that he could spread his pinions and soar heavenward at any
moment; now, a stiff, unapproachable, privy-councillor, reserved and
grandly dignified! Schiller, no woman could change so fearfully, or
become so false to herself! Goethe's appearance has saddened me so much
that I feel like crying!"

"And I," said Schiller, angrily, "I feel like calling myself a
simpleton for having addressed a kindly greeting to so haughty a
gentleman. He despises me, and looks down upon the unknown dramatic
writer with contempt; he--"

"Frederick," said Madame von Kalb, gently, "my Frederick, such petty
envy does not beseem a genius like yourself; you--"

"Nor do I envy him," said Schiller, interrupting her; "in my breast
also glows the holy fire that was not stolen from heaven by Prometheus
for him alone! My spirit also has pinions that would bear it aloft to
the sun, if--yes, if it were not for the paltry fetters that bind my
feet to earth!"

"And yet, my beloved friend," rejoined Charlotte, passionately, "and
yet I will be only too happy to share these fetters with you--and
I would rather live with you in a modest cottage, than in the most
magnificent palace at the side of an unloved man."

"You are an angel, Charlotte," murmured Schiller; "you over-estimate
me, and I know only too well how little I resemble the sublime image
your lively imagination has made of me."

He did not look at Charlotte while uttering these words, his manner was
embarrassed, and his eyes turned heavenward. He suffered Charlotte to
lead him by the hand, and walked at her side like a dreaming, confiding
child.

She led him to the darkest and most solitary avenue--to the same
retreat in which Goethe had walked restlessly to and fro but a short
time before. The little branch of woodbine which Goethe had struck
down with his cane, and from which he had plucked a blossom and placed
it in his button-hole, still lay in the middle of the road. Charlotte
carelessly trod it under foot, never dreaming that these crushed
blossoms could have told a tale that might have served her as a warning.

But of women's hearts the same may be said that Mirabeau said of
princes: "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing!"

No; they, too, learn nothing and forget nothing, these poor women's
hearts. Never have they learned by the fate of another woman that love
is not immortal, and that the vows of men, as Horace says, "are wafted
away like the leaves of the forest." Never have they forgotten these
vows, and on the leaves of the forest do they still erect air-castles,
which they fondly hope will stand forever.

They seated themselves on a rustic bench that had been placed in a
flowery niche, cut out of the hedge that skirted the path in which
they had been walking. There they sat, hand in hand, Charlotte's
eyes fastened on Schiller's noble, thoughtful countenance, with an
expression of mingled pain and tenderness.

"Frederick, you have nothing to say to me?"

He raised his eyes slowly, and in the vehemence of her own feelings she
failed to observe that his glance was somewhat embarrassed and anxious.

"It is very beautiful here," he said in low tones. "This solitude,
this eloquent silence of Nature, is very delightful, particularly when
I can enjoy it at your side, my beloved friend. Our souls are like two
harps that are tuned to the same tone, and are so near together that,
when the strings of the one are touched, those of the other echo a
response in the same accord."

"God grant that it may ever be so, my Frederick! God grant that no
storm break in upon the harmony of these harps!"

"And from whence should such a storm come, my dear friend, beloved
sister of my soul? No, I am sure that this can never be. The love which
unites us is exalted above all change and illusion. I can conceive
of no purer or more beautiful relation than that of a brother to his
sister, when they are loving, and live in a proper understanding of
their duties to each other. Let this thought truly console us and
strengthen our hearts, Charlotte, if other wishes entertained by me for
a long time, as you well know, should never be fulfilled. Charlotte,
I am not one of those whose lives flow on in a smooth, unbroken
current, and over whose desires auspicious stars shine in the heavens.
To forego has ever been my fate, and you, my dearest, have given me
painful instruction in this bitter lesson. You will remember how I
knelt at your feet in Mannheim, passionately entreating you to sunder
the fetters which bound you to the unloved man, and to become mine, my
wife! It was, however, in vain; and now, when your heart is at last
inclined to grant the fulfilment of our wishes and hopes--now, when you
would dare to become my wife, another obstacle presents itself that
seems to render it impossible that we should ever be outwardly united."

"What obstacle, Frederick? Who can prevent it?"

"Your husband, Charlotte. It seems that he loves you truly, and cannot
bear to entertain the thought of separation."

"Have you spoken with him, Frederick? Have you honestly and openly told
him of our wishes, and have you entreated him to fulfil them?"

"I have often attempted to do so, but he always avoided coming to
the point. Whenever he observed that I was endeavoring to turn our
conversation in that direction, he would break off abruptly and
introduce another topic of conversation. This convinced me that he
loved you dearly, and the thought that I am about to grieve this good
and noble man and rob him of a treasure that my own feelings teach me
must be very dear to him, pains me to the heart's core."

"Frederick," said she, softly, "how fearful it is to see the most
beautiful flowers of spring fade and die, sometimes cut off by a
nipping frost, sometimes parched by the too great warmth of the sun!"

"I do not understand you, Charlotte," said Schiller, in a little more
confusion than was entirely compatible with his "not understanding."

"And I," cried she, with sparkling eyes, "I wish I did not understand
you! Tell me, Frederick, is your heart really mine? Are your feelings
toward me unchanged?"

He raised his eyes, and gazed into her agitated countenance earnestly
and thoughtfully. "Charlotte, you ask a question which God alone can
answer. Who can say of himself that he has a true and exact knowledge
of his own feelings? All is subject to change; the sea has its ebb and
flow, the sun rises and sets. But the sea ever and again returns to
the beach it had before deserted, and the sun ever rises again after
the dark night. As the sea and sun, with all their changes, are still
eternally constant, so it is also with true love. At times it would
seem as though it were withdrawing, and leaving a bleak, sandy desert
behind; in the next hour its mighty waves surge back impetuously over
the barren strand, chanting, in holy organ-tones, the song that love is
eternal."

"Wondrous words!" cried Charlotte; "the paraphrase to a glorious song
which I hope the poet Frederick Schiller will one day sing to the
world! But I ask the poet, whether these are also the words of the man
Frederick Schiller? Did the hymn to love, just uttered by the poet's
lips, also resound in the heart of the man, and was it addressed to
me?"

"And why these questions, my dearest? The poet and the man are one, and
the utterances of the poet's lips are the thoughts of the man; when
he consecrates an enthusiastic hymn to love, while at your side, be
assured that it is addressed to you!"

He laid his arm around her neck, and drew her head to his breast, as
he had so often done before in hours of tenderness. But Charlotte
felt that there was, nevertheless, a difference between then and now:
the arm that embraced her did not rest on her neck with the same warm
pressure as of yore. She, however, repressed the sigh that had nearly
escaped her lips, nestled closer to his bosom, and whispered in low
tones: "Frederick, your hymn has found an echo in my heart; Frederick,
I am very grateful to God for your love!"

He was silent, his only response was a warmer pressure of the arm
entwined around her neck. Then both were silent. Deep stillness
reigned; it seemed as though Nature were holding divine service in her
green halls under the dome of heaven; at first with silent prayer, then
a joyous song of praise resounded from the hidden chorus in the foliage
of the tall trees, until the breeze rustled through the leaves in holy
organ-tones, and silenced the feathered songsters.

To these deep organ-tones, to this rustling of the wind in the foliage,
listened the two lovers, who sat there on the little rustic bench in a
trance of delight and devotion. Both were silent, and yet so eloquent
in their silence. He, with his pale countenance turned upward, gazing
intently at the blue dome of heaven, as though seeking to fathom its
mysteries; she, with her head resting on his bosom, seeking no other,
now that she had found this heaven. But the wind now rustled through
the trees in deeper and more solemn tones, and awakened Charlotte
from her sweet repose. A leaf torn from the branches by the wind was
borne against her cheek; it glided over her face like the touch of a
ghostly finger, and fell into her hands, which lay folded in her lap.
She started up in alarm, and looked down at this gift of the wind and
trees.

They had given her a withered, discolored leaf. Like the harbinger
of coming autumn had this withered leaf touched her face, and rudely
awakened her from her heavenly summer dream.

"A bad omen," she murmured, tearing the leaf to pieces with her
trembling fingers.

"What does this murmuring mean, Charlotte?" asked Schiller, who had
been completely absorbed in his own thoughts, and had not observed this
little by-play in the great tragedy of the heart. "What alarmed you so
suddenly?"

"Nothing, it is nothing," said she, rising. "Come, my friend, let us
go; I fear that a storm is gathering in the heavens."

He looked up at the clear blue sky in amazement. "I do not see a single
cloud."

"So much the better, Frederick!" rejoined Charlotte, quickly, "so much
the better! Nothing will therefore prevent our taking the contemplated
drive to Rudolstadt."

Her large eyes fastened a quick, penetrating glance on his countenance
while uttering these words, and she saw that he colored slightly, and
avoided encountering her gaze.

"We will carry out our intention of driving to Rudolstadt to-morrow,
will we not, my friend? I have been promising to pay Madame von
Lengefeld a visit for a long time, and it will afford me great
pleasure to see her two daughters again. Caroline von Beulwitz is a
noble young woman, and bears the cruel fate entailed upon her by her
unfortunate marriage with true heroism. At the side of this matured
summer-rose stands her sister Charlotte, like a fair young blossom of
the spring-time."

Schiller, his countenance radiant with pure joy, gave Charlotte a
tender, grateful look; and this look pierced her heart, and kindled the
consuming flames of jealousy. Poor Charlotte! The wind had dashed a
withered autumn-leaf against her face, and but now she had called the
woman who was henceforth to be her rival "a fair young blossom of the
spring-time."

"How beautifully you paint with a few strokes of the brush, Charlotte!"
said Schiller, gayly. "Your portrait is an excellent one, and portrays
Madame von Lengefeld's daughters as they really are. Caroline, as the
full-blown rose, and Charlotte as a lovely, fragrant violet."

"And which of these flowers do you most admire?"

"It is hard to choose between them," replied Schiller, laughing. "It is
best to admire them together; I can scarcely conceive of their being
separated; separation would destroy the harmony of the picture!"

Charlotte felt relieved. Then he loved neither. His heart had not
chosen between them.

"I am so glad," said she, "that my friends chance to be yours also! How
did you become acquainted with the Von Lengefeld family?"

"We are old acquaintances!" replied Schiller, smiling. "I made the
acquaintance of these ladies four years ago while residing in Madame
von Wollzogen's house, soon after my flight from Stuttgart, and it was
her son, my friend, William von Wollzogen, who took me to see them in
Rudolstadt."[47]

"Rumor says that Mr. William von Wollzogen loves his cousin Caroline
devotedly."

"And for once, rumor has, as I believe, told the truth. Wollzogen loves
his beautiful cousin passionately."

"And Caroline, does she love him?"

"Who can fathom the heart of this noble woman! Her lips are sealed by
the solemn vow which united her with her unloved husband, and Caroline
von Beulwitz is too noble and chaste a woman to become untrue even to
an unloved husband, and--" Schiller hesitated; he now felt how deeply
his words must have wounded the woman who stood at his side--the woman
over whom be had just pronounced judgment. But women have a wonderful
knack of not hearing what they do not wish to hear, and of smiling even
when stabbed to the heart.

Charlotte von Kalb smiled on Schiller as though his words had not
wounded her in the slightest degree.

"And has Charlotte, has this poor child, at last recovered from her
unhappy love? Have the bleeding wounds of her young heart at last been
healed?"

Madame von Kalb, her countenance wreathed in smiles, had drawn the
dagger from her own heart and plunged it into her lover's. "Paete,
Paete, non dolet!"

He felt the blow and found it impossible to force a smile to his lips.
"What do you mean?" asked he, gloomily. "Who has dared to wound the
heart of this fair girl?"

"I am surprised, indeed, that you should have heard nothing of this
affair, my dear friend," said Charlotte, the smile on her lips
becoming more radiant as she felt that the dagger was entering
deeper and deeper. "Charlotte von Lengefeld was affianced to a noble
young man whom she loved devotedly, and it was the most ardent wish
of both to be united for life. But, unfortunately, the wealth of
their feelings formed a cutting contrast to the poverty of their
outward circumstances. Madame von Lengefeld, a lady of experience
and discretion, informed the lovers that their union was out of the
question, as they were both poor. Yielding to stern necessity they
separated, although with many tears and bleeding hearts. The young man
entered the Hessian army and went to America, never to return. The
young girl remained behind in sorrow and sadness, and, as it is said,
took a solemn vow never to marry another, as fate had separated her
from the man she loved."

And after Charlotte, with the cruelty characteristic of all women when
they love and are jealous, had dealt this last blow, she smiled and
gave her lover a tender glance. But his countenance remained perfectly
composed, and Charlotte's narrative seemed rather to have appealed to
the imagination of the poet than to the heart of the man.

"It is true," said he, softly, "each human heart furnishes material
for a tragedy. All life is, in reality, nothing more than a grand
tragedy, whose author is the Eternal Spirit of the universe. We, little
children of humanity, are nothing more than the poor actors to whom
this Eternal Spirit has given life for no other purpose than that we
might play the rôles which He has assigned us. We poor actors fancy
ourselves independent beings, yes, even the lords of creation, and talk
of free agency and of the sublime power of the human will. This free
agency is nothing more than the self-worship of the poor slave.--Come,
Charlotte," cried Schiller, suddenly awakening from his thoughtful
contemplation; "come, my dear friend, let us go. Thoughts are burning
in my heart and brain, the poet is being aroused within the man. I must
write; work only can restore me to peace and tranquillity!"

"Do you no longer find peace and tranquillity with me, Frederick? Have
they ceased to ring the festive bells of our union of hearts? Do they
no longer call our souls together, that they may impart light and
warmth to each other like two rays of sunshine?"

"Charlotte, souls too are untuned at times, although the accord of love
is ever the same. Remember this, and do not be angry if storms should
sometimes break in upon the harmony of our souls."

"I am never angry with you," said she, in tones of mingled sadness and
tenderness. "Your peace and your happiness is all I desire, and to
give you this shall be the sole endeavor of my whole life. I believe
that this is the holy mission with which fate has entrusted me, and
for which I have been placed in the world. To do my utmost to add to
your happiness and to give joyousness to your heart and gayety to your
soul. Yes, you shall be gay! Your good genius smiles on your labors
and relieves the laurel-crowned head of the poet of all care, giving
him honor and glory. But I--I will give you happiness and gayety, for
I love you; and you, you have told me a thousand times that you loved
me, and that my heart was the home of your happiness. I will believe
this sweet assurance, Frederick, and will hold fast to it forever
and evermore. I will look into the future with a glad heart, hoping
that we may, at last, overcome all obstacles and belong to each other
wholly. You say that my husband always avoids this subject, refusing
to understand you. I will compel him to understand us. I, myself, will
tell him of our hopes and wishes!"

"No, Charlotte," said he, "this duty devolves upon me! A time will come
when all his endeavors to avoid this subject will be futile, and I will
avail myself of this moment to speak for us both. Do not look at me
so doubtingly, Charlotte. You have instructed me in the trying art of
patience! Be patient yourself, and never forget that the stars of our
love will shine forever!"



CHAPTER VII.

THE FIRST MEETING.


On the next morning Schiller and Madame von Kalb drove to Rudolstadt
to pay the Lengefeld family a visit. Charlotte did not fail to observe
that Schiller's countenance grew brighter and brighter the nearer they
approached the little Thuringian village, that was so beautifully
situated in the midst of wooded hills.

Madame von Lengefeld received her welcome guests, at the door of her
pretty little house, with dignity and kindness. Behind her stood her
two lovely daughters; the eyes of both fastened on Frederick Schiller,
to whom they extended their hands, blushingly bidding him welcome.

Charlotte von Kalb, although conversing in an animated manner with
Madame von Lengefeld, nevertheless listened to every word Schiller
uttered, and observed his every glance. She heard him greet the two
sisters with uniform cordiality, and she saw that his gaze rested on
both with the same kindliness. Madame von Kalb's countenance assumed a
more joyous expression, and a voice in her heart whispered, exultingly:
"He does not love her, he has no preference for either one of them. He
told me the truth, he entertains a brother's affection for _them_, but
his tenderness and love are for _me_!" And now that her heart had come
to this joyful conclusion, Charlotte von Kalb's whole manner was gay
and animated; she laughed and jested with the two young ladies, was
devoted in her attentions to Madame von Lengefeld, and treated Schiller
with the most tender consideration. Her conversation was very gay and
witty, and the most piquant and brilliant remarks were constantly
falling like sparkling gems from her smiling lips.

"How intelligent and amiable this lady is!" said the elder of the
two sisters, Caroline von Beulwitz, to Schiller, with whom they were
walking in the flower-garden, behind the house, while dame von Kalb
remained with Madame von Lengefeld in the parlor.

Schiller walked between the sisters, a pretty snow-white hand resting
on either arm. His countenance shone with happiness, and his step was
light and buoyant. "I should like to ascend straightway into Heaven
with you two," said he, joyously; "and I think it highly probable that
I will do so directly. Nothing would be impossible for me to-day, and
it seems to me as though Heaven had descended to earth, so that I would
have no obstacles to overcome, and could walk right in, with you two
ladies on my arms."

"Then let us return to the house at once, in order to guard against any
such ascension," said Caroline von Beulwitz, smiling.

"Oh, Caroline," exclaimed Charlotte, laughing joyously, "I wish we
could take this flight to Heaven! How surprised they would be, and how
they would look for us, while we three were taking a walk up there in
the clouds!"

"And how angry Madame von Kalb would be with us, for having enticed her
dear friend away!" said Caroline, ironically.

"I would enjoy it all the more on that very account," rejoined
Charlotte, laughing.

"And I, too," protested Schiller. "It would be very pleasant if we
could sometimes cast aside all earthly fetters and rise, like the bird,
high above the noisy, sorrowing earth, and float in the sunbright ether
with the loved one in our arms. My dear friends, why not make this
ascension to-day?"

"To-day! no, not to-day," said Charlotte, exchanging a meaning glance
with her sister. "It will not do to leave the earth to-day, will it,
Caroline? We expect to have too pleasant a time here below to think of
making the ascension to-day!"

"What does this mystery--what do these sly glances mean?" asked
Schiller. "Something extraordinary is about to occur. Tell me, Lolo,
what does all this mean?"

"I will tell nothing," said Charlotte, laughing merrily, and shaking
her brown locks. "It is useless to ask me."

"But you, dear Caroline, on whose sweet lips the truth and goodness
are ever enthroned, you, at least, will tell me whether I am wrong in
supposing that a mystery exists that will be unravelled to-day."

"Yes, my dear friend," said she, smiling, "there is a little surprise
in store for you, but I hope you are satisfied that we would never do
any thing that--"

"And I believe," said her younger sister, interrupting her, "I believe
that the solution of this mystery is at hand, for I hear a carriage
approaching. Listen, it has stopped at our door! Yes, this is the
mystery! Come, my friend, the solution awaits you!"

She was about to lead Schiller to the house, when Caroline gently
drew her back. "One moment, Lolo! Tell me, my friend, do you place
sufficient confidence in us, to follow without question and without
uneasiness, even when we confess that we are leading you to the
solution of a mystery?"

Schiller clasped the right hands of the two sisters and pressed them
to his heart. "I will gladly and proudly follow you wherever you may
choose to lead me. I place such confidence in you both that I could lay
my life and eternal happiness in your dear hands, and bid defiance to
all the mysteries of the world!"

"But yet you would like to know what this mystery is, would you not?"
asked Lolo.

"No," replied Schiller, with an expression of abiding faith; "no, the
solution of the mystery which my fair friends have in store for me will
unquestionably be agreeable. Let us go."

"We are much obliged to you for your confidence, Schiller," said
Caroline. "We will, however, not permit you to be surprised, as the
other ladies had determined you should be. It will depend upon your own
free-will whether you enter into the plans agreed upon by your friends,
or not. Schiller, you heard a carriage drive up to our door a few
moments since? Do you know who were in that carriage? Madame von Stein
and Goethe!"

"Is not that a surprise?" cried Lolo, laughing.

"Yes," he said, with an expression of annoyance, "yes, a surprise, but
not an agreeable one. The Privy-Councillor Goethe showed no desire
to cultivate my acquaintance, and I would not have him think that I
desire to intrude myself on his notice. If he deems my acquaintance
undesirable, the world is wide enough for us both, and we can easily
avoid each other. As much as I admire Goethe's genius, I am not humble
enough to forget that I too am a poet to whom some consideration is
due. Nothing could be less becoming than for Schiller to advance while
Goethe recedes, or even stands still."

"But this is not so, Schiller; it could not be!" exclaimed Charlotte
earnestly, while Caroline gazed at him with sparkling eyes as though
rejoicing in his proud bearing and energetic words. "Join with me,
Caroline, in assuring him that is not the case! Tell him how it is."

"My friend," said Charlotte, in a low voice, "Goethe knew as little of
your presence here as you of his. The two ladies, Madame von Stein
and Madame von Kalb, arranged the whole affair, and we were only too
glad to assist them in bringing together the two greatest poets of our
day, the two noblest spirits of the century, in order that they might
become acquainted, and lay aside the prejudices they had entertained
concerning each other. While we are conversing with you here, this
same explanation is being made to Goethe by the ladies in the house.
Charlotte von Stein is also there, and, as you will readily believe,
holds the honor of her beloved friend Schiller in too high estimation
to permit Goethe to suppose for a moment that you had connived at this
meeting, or were anxious to make an acquaintance which he might deem
undesirable."

"Come, my friends, let us return to the house," said Schiller, smiling
sadly. "It is but proper that I should make the first advances to my
superior in rank and ability, and--"

He ceased speaking, for at this moment Goethe and the two Charlottes
appeared on the stairway.

"You see," whispered Caroline, "Goethe thinks as you do, and he, too,
is willing to make the first advances."

In the meantime Goethe had walked down into the garden, still
accompanied by the two ladies, with whom he was engaged in an animated
conversation. But when he saw Schiller approaching, Goethe hastened
forward to meet him.

"Madame von Kalb has reproached me for having withdrawn so abruptly
when we met in the park a few days since," said Goethe, in kindly
tones. "I admit that I was wrong, but, at the same time, I must confess
that it did not seem appropriate to me that we should make each other's
acquaintance under such circumstances--as it were by the merest chance."

"And yet it is chance again that enables me to greet the poet Goethe,
to-day," replied Schiller, quickly.

"But this time it has been brought about by fair hands," cried Goethe,
bowing gracefully to the ladies, "and, with the ancients, I exclaim:
'What the great gods vouchsafe can only be good and beautiful!'"

But, as though he had conceded enough to his friends' wishes, and
shown Schiller sufficient consideration, Goethe now turned again to
the ladies, and resumed the conversation in which he had been engaged
on entering the garden. They had been questioning him about Madame
Angelica Kaufmann, the painter, and Goethe was telling them of her
life, her genius, and her nobility of mind, with great animation and
in terms of warm approval. Afterward, when the company were assembled
around the table at dinner in the garden pavilion, Goethe, at Charlotte
von Stein's request, told them of his travels, of the Eternal City, and
of that charming life in Italy which he considered the only one worthy
of an artist, or of any really intellectual man. Carried away with
enthusiasm, his countenance shone with manly beauty, originating rather
from his inward exaltation than from any outward perfection of form and
feature.

The ladies were fascinated by this handsome countenance, these lustrous
eyes, and the eloquent lips which described sunny Italy, the land of
promise, of art and poetry, in such glowing colors.

Schiller sat there in silence, listless, his eyes cast down, rarely
adding a low word of approval to the enthusiastic applause of the
ladies, and never addressing a question or remark to Goethe; nor did
the latter ever address himself directly to Schiller, but spoke to
all with the air of a great orator who feels assured that _all_ are
listening to his words with deference and admiration.

"I am not satisfied with our success to-day," sighed Madame von Kalb,
while returning with Schiller to Weimar in the evening. "I had promised
myself such glorious results from this meeting with Goethe. I hoped
that you would become friends, learning to love each other, but now
you seem to have passed like two stars that chance to meet on their
heavenly course, yet journey on without attracting each other. Tell me,
at least, my dear friend, how you were pleased with Goethe."

"Ask me how I am pleased with a glacier, and whether I feel warm
and cheerful in its vicinity. Yes, this Goethe is a glacier, grand,
sublime, and radiant, like Mount Blanc, but the atmosphere that
surrounds him is cold, and the little flowers of attachment that
would so gladly blossom are frozen by his grandeur. To be in Goethe's
society often, would, I confess, make me unhappy. He never descends
from this altitude, even when with his most intimate friends. I believe
him to be egotistic in an eminent degree. He possesses the gift of
enchaining men, and of placing them under obligations to himself, by
little as well as great attentions, while he always manages to remain
unfettered himself. He manifests his existence in a beneficent manner,
but only like a god, without revealing himself--this, it seems to me,
is a consistent and systematic rule of action, based on the highest
enjoyment of self-love. Men should not permit such a being to spring
into existence in their midst. This, I confess, makes me detest
him, although I love his intellect, and have a high opinion of his
ability."[48]

"But you will yet learn to love him as a man, Frederick."

"It is quite possible that I may," said Schiller, thoughtfully. "He has
awakened a feeling of mingled hatred and love in my bosom--a feeling,
perhaps, not unlike that which Brutus and Cassius may have entertained
toward Cæsar. I could murder his spirit, and yet love him dearly."[49]

While "Brutus" was giving utterance to this feeling of mingled hatred
and love, "Cæsar" was also pronouncing judgment over "Brutus;" this
judgment was, however, not a combination of hatred and love, but rather
of pride and contempt. The hero who had overcome all the difficulties
of the road, and whose brow was already entwined with the well-deserved
laurel, may have looked down, from the sublime height which he had
attained, with some proud satisfaction and pitying contempt upon him
who had not yet overcome these difficulties, who had not yet vanquished
the demons who opposed his ascent.

"My dear Wolf," said Madame von Stein to Goethe, while returning to
Weimar, "I had hoped that you would meet Schiller in a more cordial
manner. You scarcely noticed him."

"I esteem him too highly to meet him with a pretence of cordiality
when I really dislike him," replied Goethe, emphatically. "I have an
antipathy to this man that I neither can nor will overcome."

"But Goethe is not the man to be influenced by antipathies for which he
has no good reasons."

"Well, then," cried Goethe, with an outburst of feeling, such as he had
rarely indulged in since his return from Italy, "well, then, I have
good reasons. Schiller destroys what I have toiled to create; he builds
up what I fancied I had overthrown--this abominable revolution in the
minds of men, this heaven-storming conviviality, this wild glowing, and
reeling, so very indistinct and cloudy, so replete with tears, sighs,
groans, and shouts, and so antagonistic to lucid, sublime thought, and
pure enthusiasm. His 'Robbers' I abhor--this Franz Moor is the deformed
creation of powerful but immature talent. I found, on my return from
Italy, that Schiller had flooded Germany with the ethic and theatrical
paradoxes of which I had long been endeavoring to purify myself. The
sensation which these works have excited, the universal applause given
to these deformed creations of an intoxicated imagination, alarm me.
It seems to me as though my poetic labors were all in vain, and had
as well be discontinued at once. For, where lies the possibility of
stemming the onward tide impelled by such productions--such strange
combinations of genuine worth and wild form? If Germany can be inspired
by the robber, Charles Moor, and can relish a monstrous caricature like
the brutal Franz Moor, then it is all over with the pure conceptions of
art, which I have sought to attain for myself and my poems--then my
labors are useless and superfluous, and had best be discontinued."[50]

"But you are speaking of Schiller's first works only, my dear friend;
his later writings are of a purer and nobler nature. Have you not yet
read his 'Don Carlos?'"

"I have, and I like it no better than 'The Robbers.' It is useless
to attempt to reconcile us to each other. Intellectually, we are two
antipodes, and more than one diameter of the earth lies between and
separates us. Let us then be considered as the two poles that, in the
nature of things, can never be united."[51]

"How agitated you are, my dear friend!" sighed Charlotte. "It seems
there is still something that can arouse you from your Olympian repose
and heartless equanimity, and recall you to earth."

"'_Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto_,'" rejoined Goethe,
smiling. "Yes, Charlotte, I learned in Italy to appreciate the vast
distance between myself and the great gods of Olympus, and I say with
all humility: 'I am a man, and a stranger to nothing that is human.'"

"I wish you had never been in Italy," sighed Charlotte.

"And I," rejoined Goethe, "I wish I had never left Italy to return to
Germany, and to exchange a bright sky for a gloomy one."

"How cruel you are, Goethe!" cried Charlotte, bursting into tears.

"Cruel!" repeated he, in dismay. "Good heavens! are we never to
understand each other again! Does Charlotte no longer sympathize with
me in my sorrows, as in my joys? Can you not comprehend the deep
sadness that fills my heart when I think of Italy?"

"Certainly I can," cried Charlotte. "Since you told me of your
love-affair with the beautiful Leonora, I comprehend and understand
all. I know that you left your heart in Italy, and that it is the
longing of love that calls you back to the sunny land from the bleak
north."

He gave her a lingering, reproachful look. "Charlotte, it is now my
turn to call _you_ cruel, and I can do so with perfect justice. That
which you should consider the best proof of my love and friendship--the
unreserved and complete confession I made when I told you of this
affair--this same confession seems rather to have made you doubt me,
than to have carried the conviction to your heart that you are the
being I love most dearly on earth!"

"I thank God that I have no confession to make to you," cried
Charlotte. "I have not forgotten you for a moment. My soul and heart
were ever true to you, and, while you were kneeling at the feet of the
beautiful Leonora, I knelt at the feet of God, and entreated Him to
bless and preserve the faithless man who was perhaps betraying me at
that very hour, and who now carries his cruelty so far that he dares
to complain and lament over his lost Italian paradise in my presence,
and--"

"Charlotte, do not speak so, I conjure you," cried Goethe, interrupting
her. "You cannot know what incalculable pain your words inflict.
My friend, my beloved, is nothing sacred? is every temple to be
overthrown? is every ideal to be destroyed? Charlotte, be yourself once
more; do not give way to this petty jealousy. Be the noble, high-souled
woman once more, and lay aside these petty weaknesses. Know that the
holy bond of love in which we are united is indestructible, and still
exists even when fair blossoms of earth spring into life beside it. Be
indulgent with me and with us both, and do not desire that I, at forty
years of age, should be an ascetic old man, dead to all the little
fleeting emotions of the heart."

"These sophistries are incomprehensible to me," said she, sharply, "and
it seems to me that what you call fleeting emotions of the heart are
simply infidelity and a desecration of the love which you vowed would
be eternal and unchangeable."

Goethe bowed his head sadly. "It really looks as though we could no
longer understand each other," said he, gently. "I admit, however, that
I am to blame, and beg you to pardon me. In the future I will be more
cautious. I will make no more communications calculated to offend you."

"That is, you will withdraw your confidence, but you will not cease to
do that which must offend me."

His countenance quivered, his eyes sparkled with anger, and his cheeks
turned pale, but he struggled to repress the indignant words that
trembled on his lips.

Charlotte turned pale with alarm. Goethe looked sternly on his beloved
for the first time. She read indifference in his features for the first
time. A loud cry of anguish escaped her lips, and the tears gushed from
her eyes.

Goethe did not attempt to console her, but sat at her side in silence,
his gaze resting gloomily on her countenance. "It is a cruel destiny
that women should be compelled to give vent to their grief in tears,
for their beauty is seldom enhanced thereby," said he to himself.
"The tears of offended love are becoming in youthful faces only, and
Charlotte's is not youthful enough. She looks old and ugly when she
cries!"

Poor Charlotte!

Late in the evening of this day Goethe left his house through a side
door that led from his garden into a narrow little street. His hat was
pressed down over his forehead, and a long cloak enveloped his figure.
In former days, before his trip to Italy, he had often slipped through
this small door in the early hours of the morning, and in the twilight,
to take the most direct and quiet route to his beloved Charlotte; the
side door had also been often opened to admit the beautiful Madame von
Stein when she came to visit her dear friend Goethe. To-day, Goethe had
waited until it grew so dark that it was impossible that his curious
neighbors could observe his departure, and on this occasion he did
not direct his footsteps toward the stately house in which madame the
Baroness von Stein resided. He took an entirely different direction,
and walked on through streets and alleys until he came to a poor,
gloomy, little house. But a light was still burning in one window, and
the shadow of a graceful, girlish figure flitted across the closed
blind. Goethe tapped twice on the window, and then the shadow vanished.
In a few moments the door was cautiously opened. Had any one stood
near he would soon have observed two shadows on the window-blind--two
shadows in a close embrace.



CHAPTER VIII.

WILHELMINE RIETZ.


They were victorious, the pious Rosicrucians and Illuminati, who
held King Frederick William the Second entangled in their invisible
toils. They governed the land; by their unbounded influence over the
king's mind _they_ had become the real kings of Prussia. General von
Bischofswerder stood at the king's side as his most faithful friend
and invoker of spirits. Wöllner had been ennobled and advanced from
the position of chamberlain to that of a minister of Prussia, and to
him was given the guidance of the heart and conscience of the nation.
This promotion of Wöllner to the position of minister of all affairs
connected with the church and public schools, took place at the end
of the year 1788, and the first great act of the newly-appointed
minister was the promulgation of the notorious Edict of Faith,
intended to fetter the consciences of men, and prescribing what
doctrines appertaining to God and religion they should accept as true
and infallible. They were no longer to be permitted to illumine the
doctrines of the church with the light of reason, and to reveal what
it was intended should remain enveloped in mystical darkness. It was
strictly forbidden to subject the commandments of the church and the
doctrines of revealed religion to the _fallacious_ tests of reason.
Unconditional and implicit obedience to the authorities of the church
was required and enforced.

But the minister Von Wöllner was far too shrewd a man not to be
fully aware that this edict of faith would be received with the
greatest dissatisfaction by the people to whom Frederick the Great
had bequeathed freedom of thought and faith, as his best and greatest
legacy. He had fettered reason and intelligence in matters appertaining
to religion, but he knew that they would seek revenge in severe
criticisms and loud denunciations through the public press. It was
necessary to prevent this, but how could it be done? Wöllner devised
the means--the censorship of the press. This guillotine of the mind
was erected in Prussia, and at the same time the good King of France
and Doctor Guillotine were, from motives of humanity, devising some
means of severing the heads of criminals so quickly from their bodies
that death would be instantaneous and painless. Good King Louis the
Sixteenth and his philanthropical physician invented an instrument
which they believed would answer these requirements, and baptized it
"Guillotine," in honor of its inventor. Good King Frederick William
caused his misanthropical physician Wöllner to erect an instrument
that should kill the noblest thoughts and mutilate the mind. This
guillotine of the mind, called censorship of the press, was Wöllner's
second stroke of policy. With this instrument he effectually destroyed
Frederick the Great's work of enlightenment; and yet this same pious,
holy, orthodox man published the "Works of Frederick the Great," the
royal freethinker and mocker at religion. For these works there was,
however, no censorship. The publication of Frederick the Great's
writings was a source of great profit to the wily minister Von Wöllner,
who worshipped with greater devotion at another than the shrine before
which he bowed the knee in the church--at the shrine of mammon.

The great king now lived in his writings only; the men who had served
him faithfully, Count Herzberg above all, had been dismissed from
office, and were powerless; the laws which he had made to protect
freedom of thought were annulled, the light which he had diffused
throughout his kingdom was extinguished, and darkness and night were
sinking down over the minds and hearts of a whole nation! The promise
which the circle directors had made to the grand-kophta on the night of
Frederick the Great's death was fulfilled: "The kingdom of the church
and of the spirits embraced all Prussia, and the power and authority of
the government were in the hands of the pious fathers. The invisible
church and its visible priests now ruled in Prussia. The king was
restored to the true faith, and lay in the dust at the feet of the
Invisibles, who ruled him and guided his mind and conscience as they
saw fit."

There were still a few brave men left who refused to submit to their
control, and bade defiance to this guillotine of censorship--men who
warred against these murderers of thought and freedom. There was
Nicolai, and Büsching, and Leuchsenring, the former instructor of
the prince royal, who never wearied of warning the people, and who
unceasingly endeavored to arouse those whom the pious executioners
desired to destroy. "Nicolai's Berlin Monthly Magazine" was the arena
of these warriors of enlightenment, and in this magazine the combat
against darkness and ignorance was still carried on, in defiance of
censorship and the edict of faith. The practical and intelligent
editor, Nicolai, still attacked these new institutions with bitter
sarcasm; the warning voice of Leuchsenring was still heard denouncing
these Rosicrucians. But Wöllner's guillotine vanquished them at last,
and the "Berlin Monthly Magazine" fell into the basket of the censors,
as the heads of the French aristocrats fell into the executioner's
basket when severed by the other guillotine in France.

But King Frederick William the Second submitted to the will of the
Invisibles, and obeyed the commands of the holy fathers, announced to
him through their representatives, Bischofswerder and Wöllner. Let
these men rule, let them take care of and discipline minds and souls;
the king has other things to do. The minds belong to the Rosicrucians,
but the hearts are the king's.

In her palatial residence, "under the linden-trees," in Berlin, sat
the king's friend, in brilliant attire, her hair dressed with flowers,
and her beautiful neck and bare arms of dazzling whiteness adorned
with rich jewelry. She was reclining on her sofa, and gazing at her
reflection in a large mirror of Venetian glass that stood against the
wall on the opposite side of the boudoir; the frame of this mirror
was of silver, richly studded with pearls and rubies, and was one of
the king's latest presents. A proud and happy smile played about her
full, rosy lips as she regarded the fair image reflected in this costly
mirror.

"I am still beautiful," said she, "my lips still glow, and my eyes
still sparkle, while _she_ is fading away and dying. Why did she dare
to become my rival, to estrange the king's heart from me? She well
knew that I had been his beloved for long years, and that the king
had solemnly vowed never to desert me! She dies with the coronet of a
countess on her pale brow, while I still live as Madame Rietz--as the
self-styled wife of a valet. I have life and health, and, although I am
not yet a countess, I can still achieve the coveted title. Have I not
sworn that I will yet become either a countess, a duchess, or, perhaps,
even a princess? Neither the royal wife of the right nor of the left
hand shall prevent me; while I rise, they will descend. While I am
riding in my splendid equipage, emblazoned with a coronet, they will
be riding to the grave in funeral-cars. And truly, it seems to me that
it must be more agreeable to ride in an equipage, even as plain Madame
Rietz, than to journey heavenward as Countess Ingenheim."

She burst into laughter as she said this, and saluted her image in
the mirror with a playful nod. The brilliants and rubies on her neck
and arms sparkled like stars in the flood of light diffused through
the room by the numerous jets of gas in the splendid chandeliers,
richly adorned with crystal pendants. This, as well as all the other
apartments of Wilhelmine Rietz's residence, was furnished with a degree
of luxury and splendor befitting a royal palace. The king had kept
the promise made to his darling son, Count Alexander von der Mark, in
Charlottenburg. The affectionate father had given his handsome son the
longed-for palace under the linden-trees; and the young count, together
with his mother and sister, had taken up his abode in this palace. But
the little Count von der Mark had not long enjoyed the pleasure of
standing with his beautiful mother at the windows of his residence,
to look at the parades which the king caused to be held there on his
account. On such occasions the king had always taken up his position
immediately beneath the windows of his son's palace, in order that they
might obtain a better view of the troops. The little count had worn
his title and occupied his palace but one year, when he died.[52] The
king's grief had been profound and lasting, and never had the image of
his handsome boy grown dim in the heart of his royal father. The loss
of his son had driven Frederick William to the verge of despair, and
Wilhelmine had been compelled to dry her own tears and suppress her own
sorrow in order to console the king. Wilhelmine Rietz had manifested so
much love and tenderness for the king during this trying period, and
had practised so much self-denial, that the king's love and admiration
for his "dear friend" had been greatly increased.

"You are a noble woman, and a heroine," said he. "Any other woman would
weep and lament--_you_ are silent, and your lips wear a smile, although
I well know what pain this smile must cost your tender mother's heart.
Any other woman would tremble and look with care and anxiety into
the future, because the death of the son might be prejudicial to her
own position; she would have hastened to obtain from me an assurance
that she should not suffer in consequence of this loss. You have done
nothing of all this; you have wept and sorrowed with me; you have
cheered and consoled me, and have not once asked, who was to be the
heir of my little Alexander, and what souvenir he had left you."

Wilhelmine Rietz shook her head, and smiled sadly, well knowing how
becoming this smile was to her pale countenance.

"I need no souvenir of my son," said she; "his memory will ever live
in my heart. I have not asked who Alexander's heir was to be, because
I have never supposed that he could have left an inheritance, for all
that I and my children have belongs to the king, and is his property,
as we ourselves are. I have not trembled for my own security, because I
confide in my king and master as in my God, and I feel assured that he
will ever observe his solemn oath and will never abandon me."

"No, never, Wilhelmine," cried the king. "You are a noble woman! You
are, and will ever remain, my dear, adored friend, and my love for
you will be more enduring than my love for any other woman. Lay aside
all care and fear, Wilhelmine, and confide in me. All the efforts and
intrigues of your friends to injure you shall be unavailing. All else
will pass away, but my love for you will endure until death; and no
woman, though I love her passionately, will be able to banish you from
my side!"

"Will you swear this, Frederick William! Will you lay your finger on
this scar on my hand and swear that my enemies shall never succeed in
banishing me from your side, and that you will ever accord me a place
in your heart?"

The king laid his hand on this scar, and it recalled to his memory
the hour in which Wilhelmine had intentionally given her hand a wound
in order that he might record his vow of love and fidelity in her own
blood. "I lay my hand on this scar," said he, "and swear by the memory
of my dear son, Alexander, that I will never neglect or forget his
mother, but will love, honor, and cherish her until the end. And here
is a proof that I _have_ not forgotten you," cried the king, as he
threw his arms around her neck, kissed her cheek, and handed her a deed
of the palace under the linden-trees, and of all else that had belonged
to Count Alexander von der Mark.

Wilhelmine Rietz and her daughter continued to reside in the palace
under the linden-trees. Her house was one of the most popular resorts
in Berlin, and the most select and intelligent society was to be
found in her parlors. To be sure the rustle of an aristocratic
lady's silk robe was never heard on the waxed floors of this stately
mansion, but Wilhelmine's social gatherings were, perhaps, none the
less animated and agreeable on that account. Her guests were charmed
with her vivacity, brilliant wit, and fine satire, and the most
eminent scholars, artists, and poets, esteemed it a great honor to be
permitted to frequent Wilhelmine Rietz's parlors. She loved art and
science, was herself somewhat of a poetess, and possessed above all
else a mind capable of quickly comprehending what she saw and heard,
and of profiting by intercourse with scholars and artists. It was a
favorite plea with the gentlemen who visited her house, that Wilhelmine
Rietz was the protectress of art and science, and, moreover, a very
intelligent lady, of whom they were in justice compelled to say that
she possessed fine sense, much knowledge, and very agreeable manners.

The king himself, an intellectual man, and a patron of art and science,
often took part in Madame Rietz's social gatherings. In her parlors he
was sure to find the relaxation and enjoyment which he sought in vain
in the society of his beautiful and aristocratic wife of the left hand.

The beautiful Julie von Voss, entitled Countess Ingenheim, had never
forgiven herself for having at last yielded to the wishes of her
family, to the entreaties of her royal lover, and to the weakness of
her own heart, by consenting to become the king's wife of the left
hand, although a wife of the right hand still lived. Her reason and
her pride told her that this little mantle of propriety was not large
enough to hide her humiliation. Her soul was filled with grief and
remorse; she felt that her glittering, apparently so happy existence,
was nothing more than a gilded lie--nothing more than shame, garnished
over with titles and honors.

The king often found his beautiful, once so ardently loved Julie in
tears; she was never gay, and she never laughed. Indeed she often went
so far as to reproach herself and her royal lover.

But tears and reproaches were ingredients of conversation which were by
no means pleasing to Frederick William, and he fled from them to the
parlors of his dear friend, Wilhelmine, where he was certain to find
gayety and amusement.

Wilhelmine Rietz thought of all this while reclining on her sofa,
awaiting the arrival of invited company--she thought of this while
gazing at the reflection of herself (adorned with jewelry and attired
in a satin dress, embroidered with silver), in the magnificent Venetian
mirror. She had always found these conversations with her image in a
mirror very interesting, for these two ladies kept no secrets from each
other, but were friends, who imparted their inmost thoughts without
prudery and hypocrisy.

"You will yet be a countess," said Wilhelmine. "Yes, a countess, and
whatever else you may desire."

The lady in the mirror smiled, and replied: "Yes, a countess, or even a
princess, but certainly not one who heaps reproaches upon herself, and
dies of remorse; nor yet one of those who seek to reconcile themselves
to the world, and to purchase an abode in heaven, by unceasing prayer
and costly alms-giving. No, I will be a countess who enjoys life and
compels her enemies to bend the knee--who seeks to reconcile herself
to the world by giving brilliant entertainments and good dinners, and
cares but little for what may take place after her death--a countess
who exclaims with her great model, the Marquise de Pompadour, '_Après
moi, le déluge!_'"



CHAPTER IX.

HUSBAND AND WIFE.


Wilhelmine was now interrupted in her animated conversation with her
reflection by the abrupt entrance of her "self-styled husband," the
Chamberlain Rietz.

She saw him in the mirror, and she saw, too, how the friend with
whom she had been conversing, colored with displeasure and frowned.
Without rising, or even turning her head, she allowed the chamberlain
to approach until he stood in front of her, and then she cried, in an
imperious voice: "Where were my servants? Why do you come unannounced
to my presence?"

Rietz, the king's chamberlain and factotum, laughed loudly. "For fear
of being turned away, ma belle, and because I considered it more
appropriate to come unannounced to my wife's presence. Once for all,
my dearest, spare me this nonsense, and do not embitter our lives
unnecessarily! Let your courtiers, your dukes, princes, counts, and
professors, wait in the antechamber, and come announced, if you will,
but you must receive me as you receive the king, that is, unannounced.
On the other hand, I promise you, never to make use of this privilege
when you are entertaining company, or are engaged in some agreeable
little _tête-à-tête_. Are you satisfied? Is this agreed upon?"

"It shall be as you say," said Wilhelmine, pointing to a stool that
stood near the sofa. "Seat yourself and let me know why you honor me
with your presence."

But Rietz, instead of seating himself on the stool, proceeded with the
greatest composure to roll forward a splendid arm-chair, on the back of
which a royal coronet was emblazoned.

"I suppose I am entitled to use this chair when the king is not
present," said he, seating himself; "moreover, I like to sit
comfortably. Now, I am installed, and the conference between the
two crowned heads can begin. Do you know, or have you the slightest
conception of, what the subject of this conference will be?"

"No," replied Wilhelmine, placing her little foot with its
gold-embroidered satin slipper on the stool, and regarding it
complacently, "no, not the slightest, but I beg you to tell me quickly,
as I am expecting company."

"Ah, expecting company! Then I will begin our conference, Carissima, by
telling you to order your servant to inform your visitors that you have
been suddenly taken ill and beg to be excused."

"Before giving this command I must first request you to give me your
reasons."

"My reasons? Well, I will give you one reason instead of many. It might
not be agreeable to your guests to have the glass from the window-panes
and the stones which have shattered them flying about their heads in
your parlor."

"My friend," said Wilhelmine, still regarding the tips of her feet,
"if you feel an irresistible inclination to jest, you will find an
appreciative audience among the lackeys in my antechamber."

"Thank you, I prefer to converse seriously with my wife in the parlor.
But if you desire it I will ring for one of these impudent rascals,
and order him, in your name, to admit no visitors. Moreover, it would
be well to have the inner shutters of all the windows of your palace
closed. The latter must, of course, be sacrificed, but the shutters
will, at least, prevent the stones from entering your apartments and
doing any further damage. Are your windows provided with shutters?"

"I see you are determined to continue this farce," said Wilhelmine,
shrugging her shoulders. "Without doubt you have wagered with some one
that you could alarm me, and the closing of the shutters is to be the
evidence that you have won the wager. Such is the case, is it not?"

"No, Carissima, such is not the case, and I beg you to play the rôle
of the undaunted heroine no longer; it becomes you very well, but you
cannot excite my admiration and--"

"Nor have I any such intention," said she, leaning back on the sofa,
and stretching herself like a tigress that appears to be quite
exhausted, but is, nevertheless, ever ready to spring upon the enemy.

"Enough of this, my friend!" cried the chamberlain, impatiently.
"Listen! If you consider it a bagatelle to have your palace demolished,
and yourself accused of being a poisoner, it is, of course, all the
same to me, and I have nothing more to say, except that I was a fool
to consider it my duty to warn you, because we had formed an alliance,
offensive and defensive, and because I could not look on calmly while
your enemies were plotting your destruction."

The tigress had bounded from her lair, her eyes glowing with great
excitement.

"You are in earnest, Rietz? This is not one of your jokes? My enemies
are plotting my destruction! They are about to attack me! Speak, be
quick! What was it you said about poisoning? Do they accuse me of being
a poisoner?"

"Certainly they do, and I am glad that this magical word has recalled
my sleeping beauty to life. Yes, your enemies accuse you of being a
poisoner. It is truly fortunate that I have spies in every quarter, who
bring me early intelligence of these little matters."

"And whom have I poisoned?"

"Countess Ingenheim, of course. Whom should you have poisoned but your
rival?"

"My rival!" repeated Wilhelmine, with a contemptuous shrug of her
shoulders. "Countess Ingenheim was ill. Is she worse?"

"Countess Ingenheim is dying!"

"Dying!" echoed Wilhelmine, and a ray of joy gleamed in the eyes
of the tigress, but she quickly repressed it. "This is, of course,
an exaggeration of the physicians, who will afterward attribute to
themselves the merit of having effected her recovery from so hopeless
a condition. I have heard of instances of this kind before. Four days
ago the countess was comparatively well; I met her in the king's little
box at the theatre, on which occasion her affability and condescension
were truly surprising."

"Yes, and it is alleged by your enemies that you committed the crime on
that very occasion. The countess complained of heat and thirst, did she
not?"

"Yes, she did, and when she sank back in her chair, almost insensible,
the king begged me to assist her."

"To which you replied that a composing powder was what she required,
and that you, fortunately, always carried a box of these powders in
your pocket. Hereupon you opened the door, and ordered one of the
lackeys who stood in the entry to bring you a glass of water and some
sugar. When he brought it, you took a small box from your pocket, and
emptied a little paper of white powder into the water; when this foamed
up, you handed the glass to the countess, who immediately drank its
contents. Am I accurate?"

"You are, and I admire this accuracy all the more, because no one was
present in the box but us three."

"You forget the lackey who brought the water, and saw you pour the
powder into the glass. This morning the countess was suddenly attacked
with a violent hemorrhage; whereupon the lackey immediately told her
brother, Minister von Voss, the whole story. Her high connections and
the entire court have been aroused, and if the countess should die
to-day, as her physicians say she will, a storm will arise out of this
glass of water, with the aid of which your enemies hope to hurl you
from your eminence and consign you to prison."

"Foolish people!" said Wilhelmine, contemptuously. "The king will not
only discredit their revelations, but will also hold them to a strict
account for their slander. Let this be my care."

"My dearest, before proceeding to punish these slanderers, I would
advise you to consider your own safety a little. I tell you this matter
is graver than you suppose, my proud, undaunted lady. The whole pack is
let loose, and Bischofswerder and Wöllner are lashing the conspirators
on, and heaping fuel on the flames. They immediately convoked a meeting
of the holy brotherhood, and issued a secret order. This order I have
seen. You must know that I was received into this holy band some two
weeks since, as serving brother of the outer temple halls. What do you
think of the title, 'serving brother of the outer temple halls?'"

And the chamberlain burst into so loud and mocking a peal of laughter,
that his colossal stature fairly trembled.

"Suppress your merriment for a moment, if you please, and tell me how
this secret order of the Rosicrucians reads."

The chamberlain's countenance quickly assumed an air of gravity. "The
order is as follows: 'All the brothers serving in the outer temple
halls will repair, at ten o'clock this evening, to your palace, for
the purpose of engaging in the charming recreation of battering your
windows with the stones that lie piled up in great plenty in this
vicinity, in places where the pavement is being renewed; while so
occupied, they are to cry--'Murderess! poisoner! Curses upon her! Down
with this murderess!' A charming chorus, my angel of innocence!"

"Yes, a chorus over which the angels in heaven will rejoice, even if
they should not be such angels of innocence as I am in this affair. I
thank you for this communication; it is really of great importance."

"I must, however, beg you, my dear madame, to take this fact into
consideration. By making this communication, I not only imperil my
salvation, but am probably already wholly lost, and have certainly
forfeited all prospects of ever entering the sanctuary of the temple,
and becoming an Invisible Brother. Each brother is required, on his
admission, to register a fearful oath, to the effect that he will
never, although his own life or that of his parents or children should
be at stake, betray the secrets of the holy fathers; and I, frail
mortal, have betrayed the confidence of my superiors! Alas, alas! I am
a lost soul! The Invisible Fathers will expel me from the brotherhood
if they should ever hear of this."

"Give yourself no disquiet, I will never betray you," said Wilhelmine,
laughing. "I am only surprised that you should ever have been admitted
into the brotherhood, and that such an order should have been issued in
your presence."

"My fairest, they are not aware that the Mr. Müller of Oranienburg, who
was received into the holy order by the general assembly some two weeks
since, is no other than the veritable Chamberlain Rietz. You must know
that it is impossible to recognize each other in these assemblies, as
they are held in a mystical gloom, and that the brothers are known to
each other when they meet in the world by certain words, signs, and
pressures of the hand, only. My dear, twenty of these Rosicrucians
might meet at a party, without dreaming that they were so closely
connected. The names of all the brothers are known only to the circle
directors, and I was of course not such a fool as to write my real name
on the slip of paper which I deposited in the urn after having paid the
admission-fee of four Fredericks d'or, and received in return the holy
symbol of initiation in the solemn twilight of the outer temple halls.
The exalted fathers, Bischofswerder and Wöllner, would be astonished,
and any thing but delighted, to learn that I was present at the meeting
of to-day, and was one of the favored individuals who heard the order
given concerning the demolition of your palace."

"By all that I hold dear, these traitors shall pay dearly for this
malice!" exclaimed Wilhelmine, frowning angrily. "This conflict must
be brought to a conclusion. I am weary of this necessity of being
constantly on the alert to guard against the stratagems and attacks
of my enemies. I will have peace, and either _they_ or _I_ must be
conquered."

"If I might be permitted to give the goddess Minerva my advice, I would
say: 'Make peace with _these_ enemies, and secure the support and
assistance of the dear Rosicrucians against your other enemies, the
aristocrats and court conspirators.' Believe me, I give you this advice
in all honesty and sincerity, and why should I not? Are we not allies,
and have we not sworn to assist each other at all times and everywhere?
In _this_ respect my charming wife has been a most excellent companion;
she has kept her promises faithfully. Thanks to her assistance, I
have attained all I desired, and there are few men who can say this
of themselves. I desired influence, power, and money, and I have them
all. By the king's favor I have achieved influence and power, and have
amassed wealth by the folly of the persons sent me by you, my dearest,
with their petitions for patents of nobility and decorations. In the
three years of our reign I have created at least two hundred noblemen,
and of this number twenty counts in the first year alone."

"Yes, indeed, these counts are well known," said Wilhelmine, laughing;
"the gentlemen of the old nobility call them by no other name than 'the
batch of 1786.'"[53]

"Moreover, the number of crosses of St. John, and orders of the Eagle,
conferred by me upon deserving individuals, is legion, and goodly sums
of money have they brought into my coffers!" said Rietz, laughing.
"I desired a well-provided table, at which I could entertain a few
gentlemen of rank and convivial spirits; and now gentlemen of this
stamp are only too anxious to obtain invitations to my dinners, and
to enjoy the delicious pasties for which my French cook is so justly
celebrated. I lead a life of enjoyment, and, as I am in a great measure
indebted to your recommendation and patronage for this enjoyment, it is
but natural that I should be grateful, and should endeavor to serve you
to the best of my ability."

"I thank you, _cher ami_," said Wilhelmine, in kindly tones. "You,
too, have always been a good and efficient friend, and it was partly
through _your_ influence that my debts were paid, my income doubled,
and myself made the mistress of this beautiful palace. I still desire a
great many things, however. Yon are aware that I am so unfortunate as
to be ambitious, and--"

"And, in your ear, the name Madame Rietz is not exactly the music of
the spheres."

"Not exactly, my dear friend, although I must admit that the name is
rather musical. But I--"

The door of the antechamber was hastily opened, and a lackey appeared
on the threshold, holding in his hand a silver waiter on which a folded
note lay.

"This note has just been left here for Chamberlain Rietz," said the
lackey.

Rietz took the note and opened it. "Madame," said he, after the door
had closed behind the servant, "madame, my worst fears are realized.
Countess Ingenheim is dead!"

"Dead!" repeated Wilhelmine, shuddering. "Poor woman, she has paid
dearly for her short-lived triumph, and those who assert that the poor
person was poisoned, are probably right; the shame attendant upon her
position, her pangs of conscience and her remorse--these were the drops
of poison which she daily imbibed, and of which she has now died.
Truly, to be the beloved of a king requires a firm heart and very
strong nerves. Poor woman, I pity her!"

"Truly, you are worthy of the greatest admiration," said Rietz. "You
lament the sad fate of your rival, while you yourself are in the
greatest danger on her account. You must now decide whether you will
receive your company or not."

"Oh, my friend," sighed Wilhelmine, "how can you suppose me capable of
indulging in the delights of social intercourse at a time when I have
suffered so sad a loss? No, the king's grief is my grief also, and
instead of being merry and laughing with others, I will weep with the
royal widower."

"You are an incomparable woman," cried Rietz, with a loud peal of
laughter; "as wise, as beautiful, as much the demon as the angel! No
wonder you are fearless! Your power rests on an adamantine foundation."

Wilhelmine made no response, but rang the bell, and told the servant
who answered her call, to inform the porter that no soirée would take
place that evening, and that he was to tell all visitors that mourning
for the sudden death of Countess Ingenheim would compel her to forego
the pleasure of seeing them for that evening and the following week.

"I beg you to leave me now, my friend," said Wilhelmine, beginning to
divest herself of the sparkling jewels that encircled her neck and
arms. "I must hasten to lay aside these worldly garments, in order that
the king may find me attired in sable robes when he arrives."

"How! Do you believe the king will visit you at a time when his wife of
the left hand has but just breathed her last?"

"I feel assured that he will. His majesty knows how deep an interest I
take in all that concerns him. He knows where to look for sympathy; he
knows that I laugh with him when he is glad, and weep with him when he
is sad. To whom should he flee in his hour of grief but to me?"

"You are right," said Rietz, smiling, "to whom should he flee, in
his hour of grief, but to his first sultana? I am going, and I truly
promise you that if his majesty, in the depth of his grief, should
chance to be forgetful of this haven of rest, I will suggest it to our
dear, chastened king."

"Do so, my friend, and hasten to his majesty's side, or my enemies will
forestall you, and perhaps console the king in a different manner."

"I am going, sultana. But these shutters--shall I order them to be
closed?"

"And why, pray? I am not afraid of a few stones, and if they should
be showered upon us too plentifully, we can retire to one of the back
rooms and observe the bombardment in perfect security. When did you say
it was to begin?"

"As soon as it has grown dark; the deeds of these pious fathers shun
the light of day. The calendar says moonlight until ten o'clock; it is
therefore probable that the sovereign people, as the rabble of Paris
now calls itself, will not honor you with a call until that hour.
It would be well to notify the police of the flattering attentions
awaiting you, and to solicit a guard for the protection of your palace."

"I will take good care not to do so," rejoined Wilhelmine, smiling.
"Let the sovereign people amuse themselves by breaking my windows if
they choose. The louder they howl and call me poisoner the better, for
the king will hear them and he will pity me."

"Wilhelmine," cried Rietz with enthusiasm, "it is a pity you are
already my wife; if you were not I should certainly address you. I
could love you to distraction!"

"Do not, my friend, I pray you," said Wilhelmine; "you would cut but
a sorry figure in the rôle of a disconsolate lover. But now go; it is
already eight o'clock, and I hear a great many carriages coming and
going."

The chamberlain pressed her beautiful hand to his lips, and then took
his departure. She regarded him with a contemptuous smile as he left
the room, and when the door had closed behind him, a clear and ringing
peal of laughter escaped her lips. "To think that this Caliban has
the honor of being called my husband," said she, "and that I am still
the wife of a valet! And why? Merely because I am not of noble birth,
like--like these sensitive puppets, whose shame is garnished over with
noble titles and robes of ermine, and who nevertheless succumb and
die under the burden of their self-acquired dignities. I can bear the
precious burden! I--will not die! No, not I!"



CHAPTER X.

THE ATTACK.


Half an hour later the folding-doors of the reception-room were
thrown open to admit the king, who came without ceremony, and without
attendants, as he was in the habit of doing. Wilhelmine hurried forward
to meet him; her lovely countenance wore a sad expression, and her
beautiful figure was attired in sable mourning-robes. One might have
supposed she had lost her mother or a sister, so mournful was her
manner, so full of sadness was her glance as she slowly raised her eyes
to the king's pale countenance. "My dear master," murmured she, "how
kind your majesty is, to think of me, and honor me with a visit, in
this your hour of sore trial!"

He stroked her soft, shining hair tenderly, and drew her head to his
bosom. "I never forget you, my friend, and the thought of your radiant
eyes and lovely countenance always consoles me when I am troubled with
care or grief, which is unfortunately very often the case."

"Your majesty's grief has been so great to-day! The divine being whom
we all loved and honored has gone from us!"

"Yes," said the king, with a deep-drawn sigh, his expression more
indicative of ennui than of sorrow, "yes, Countess Ingenheim died this
afternoon. But her death did not surprise me; the good countess had
been in very bad health ever since the birth of her son, more than a
year ago, and my physician had long since told me that she had the
consumption, and would not live through the autumn. The poor countess
had been very tearful of late; she wept a great deal when I was with
her, and was constantly reproaching herself. This was unpleasant,
and I visited her but rarely during the last few weeks for fear of
agitating the poor invalid. Moreover, she kept up a pretence of being
well," continued the king, seating himself in the arm-chair, in which
Rietz had been so comfortably installed a few minutes before. "Yes,
she wished to impose on the world with this pretence, as if it were
possible to avoid observing the traces of her terrible disease in her
pale, attenuated countenance! She always held herself erect, went to
all the parties, and even visited the theatre, four days ago. You
remember it, doubtlessly, as you were present?"

"Yes, I remember," murmured Wilhelmine, as she seated herself on a
stool at the king's feet, folded the hands, that contrasted like white
lilies with her flowing black-lace sleeves, on his knees, and gave him
a tender, languishing glance. She knew how effective these glances
were--she knew that she could always bind her lover to herself again
with these invisible toils.

"If poor Julie had but had your eyes and your health!" sighed the
king. "But she was always ailing, and in the end nothing becomes more
disagreeable than a sickly woman. But let us speak of this no longer,
it makes me sad! It is well that my poor Julie has, at last, found a
refuge in the grave from her unceasing remorse and her jealous love."

And thus Frederick took leave of the spirit of the affectionate woman
who had sacrificed all through her love for him. The consciousness that
his love for her had long since died, and that she was nothing more
than a burden to him, had killed her.

Having taken leave of the spirit of his dead love, the king now assumed
a cheerful expression, and this expression was immediately reflected in
Wilhelmine's countenance. She smiled, arose from her stool, threw her
soft, white arms around the king's neck with passionate tenderness, and
exclaimed: "How is it possible to die when one can have the happiness
of living at your side!"

The king drew her to his heart and kissed her. "_You_ will live,
Wilhelmine! You love me too dearly to think of dying of this miserable
feeling of remorse. You have been tried and found true, Wilhelmine,
and nothing can hereafter separate us."

"Nothing, my dear king and master!"

"Nothing, Wilhelmine; not even a new love. The flames of tenderness
that glow in my heart may sometimes flare up and seem to point in other
directions, but they will ever return to you, and never will the altar
grow cold on which the first love-flames burned so brightly in the fair
days of our youth."

"God bless your majesty for these words!" cried Wilhelmine, pressing
the king's hands to her lips.

"Let us have no more of this formality, I pray you," said Frederick
William, wearily. "We are alone, and I am heartily tired of carrying
the royal purple about with me wherever I go. Relieve me of this
burdensome mantle, Wilhelmine, and let us dream that the days of our
youthful happiness have come back to us."

"My Frederick is always young," whispered she; "eternal youth glows
in your heart and is reflected on your noble brow. But I--look at me,
Frederick William! I have grown old, and the unmerciful hand of Time
has been laid ungently on my brow."

The king looked at Wilhelmine, and could find no evidence of this in
the fresh, smiling countenance of his enchantress. He listened to her
siren voice, and its music soothed his soul and dissipated all care
and sorrow. As the hand of the clock neared the tenth hour, and while
Wilhelmine was engaged in a charming _tête-à-tête_ with the king over a
delightful supper of savory dishes and choice wines, the smiling siren
told him of the danger that threatened her, of the new intrigue of her
enemies at court, and of their determination to incite a mob to attack
her palace.

"There can be nothing in all this," said the king, smiling; "this story
has only been concocted to alarm you. If your enemies had formed any
such plan, my superintendent of police would certainly have heard of
it, and have taken measures to prevent it."

Wilhelmine inclined her rosy lips to the king's ear, and narrated in
low accents what Rietz had told her concerning the order issued by the
Rosicrucians.

The king started with surprise and alarm. "No," said he, "this is
impossible; Bischofswerder and Wöllner are my most faithful friends;
they will never undertake to harm you, for they know that you are
dear to me, and that your presence is necessary to my peace and
contentment--yes, I may even say to my happiness!"

"It is for this very reason that they desire to effect my banishment.
They hope to gain unbounded control over you, by driving from your side
the only being who dares to tell you the truth, and who loves in you
the dear, noble man, and not the king! My disinterested love for you,
Frederick William, is in their eyes a crime, and they accuse me of
having committed another crime, for the purpose of tearing me from your
heart and treading me under foot like a noxious weed!"

"They shall not succeed!" protested Frederick William. "But I cannot
believe that--" The king ceased speaking; at this moment a deafening
roar, as of the sea when lashed to fury by the storm, was heard in the
street; it came nearer and nearer, and then the windows of the palace
shook with the fierce cries: "Murderess! Poisoner! Curses upon the
murderess!"

Wilhelmine, an air of perfect serenity on her countenance, remained
seated at the king's feet, but he turned pale and looked toward the
window in dismay. "You perceive, my master," said she, with an air of
perfect indifference, "you perceive that these are the exact words
agreed upon in the Rosicrucian assembly this morning. This is the
war-cry of my enemies."

"Murderess! Poisoner!" resounded again upon the night air. "Curses upon
the murderess!"

"I knew they would dare to make this attack," murmured Wilhelmine,
still smiling. "Had I felt guilty, I would have fled or have solicited
protection of my king. But I wished your majesty to see how far my
enemies would go in their malignity--what cruel measures they would
take to effect my banishment."

"You have done well," said the king, earnestly; "you have acted like a
heroine, and never--"

He was interrupted by a loud crash, and something hissed through the
broken window. With a loud, piercing cry, Wilhelmine threw herself over
the king's person and clasped him in a close embrace, as if determined
to protect him against the whole world.

"They may murder me, but they shall not harm a hair of your dear head,
my beloved!"

These words, uttered in loud, exulting tones, sounded in the king's ear
like an inspiring hymn of love, and he never forgot them.

The stone had fallen to the floor, with a loud noise, but no second
one followed it. Curses still resounded from below, but the mob seemed
nevertheless to have been alarmed by their own boldness, and hesitated
before commencing a new attack.

Wilhelmine now released the king from her protecting embrace, and with
gentle force compelled him to rise from his chair.

"Come, my beloved, danger threatens you here! They will soon make
another attack."

"Wilhelmine," said he, with emotion, "give me that stone."

As she stooped to pick up the stone that lay at her feet, the black
lace shawl fell to the floor, disclosing a purple stripe on her
snow-white shoulder.

"You are wounded, Wilhelmine, you are wounded!" cried the king, in
dismay. She had arisen in the mean while, and now handed him the stone,
with her siren smile.

"It is nothing, my king; the dear people's cannon-ball merely grazed my
shoulder. To be sure, it hurts a little, but my arms are not broken."

"And it was for me that you received this wound!" said the king, in
deep emotion. "You shielded and protected me with your fair form.
Wilhelmine, I will never forget this; this stone shall be a lasting
memorial of your love and heroic devotion!"

For the second time a loud crash was heard, and now the stones came
flying through the broken windows in quick succession. At this moment
several lackeys, pale with fright, rushed into the room to report that
the populace were endeavoring to batter down the doors of the palace,
and that these were already giving way.

"Save yourself, my king, flee from this palace!" cried Wilhelmine.
"Permit my butler to lead you through the garden to the little gate
that opens into Behren Street; from there your majesty will be able to
return to your palace in safety."

"And you, my dearest?" asked the king.

"And I," said she, with heroic composure, "I will await my enemies;
if they kill me I can die with the proud consciousness that I have
saved the life of my king, and that he, at least, is convinced of my
innocence!"

Another shower of stones succeeded, and the parlor was now a scene
of fearful confusion. While fierce curses upon the head of the
murderess, and denunciations of the poisoner, resounded from the
street below, chairs, mirrors, vases, and marble tables, were being
broken and scattered in every direction by the stones that poured in
through the windows in an uninterrupted shower. In the midst of this
din and clatter Wilhelmine's voice could be heard from time to time,
conjuring the king to fly, or at least to repair with her to one of the
apartments in the rear of the palace.

But the king remained firm; and issued his commands to the trembling
servants, in a loud voice. He ordered them to close the inner shutters,
and they did as he bade them. Creeping timidly on their hands and knees
to the windows, they withdrew the bolts and closed the shutters with a
sudden jerk. The king now ordered one of the lackeys to hasten through
the garden to the office of his superintendent of police, to acquaint
him with the state of affairs, and to request him to disperse the
insurrectionary populace. After this messenger had been despatched, and
now that the stones were falling harmlessly from the closed shutters,
the king dismissed the servants who were present. He was now once more
alone with the beloved of his youth.

"Wilhelmine," said he, "I can never forget your heroism and devotion.
You shall have complete satisfaction for the insults offered you
to-day, and those who sought your destruction shall bend the knee
before you."

Half an hour later all was still, and the stones were no longer flying
against the windows. The chief of police had made a requisition on the
military authorities for a body of troops, and the populace had fled in
terror from the threatening muskets and glittering sabres.

The king had taken his departure in the carriage that had been ordered
to await him in Behren Street. He had, however, taken the stone with
him that had struck Wilhelmine's shoulder. On taking leave he kissed
her tenderly, and told her to await him in her palace at twelve o'clock
on the following day, when she should receive the promised satisfaction.

Wilhelmine was now alone; with a proud, triumphant smile, she walked
to and fro in the parlor, seeming to enjoy the scene of confusion and
destruction. At times, when her foot touched one of the stones, she
would laugh, push it aside, and exclaim: "Thus you shall all be thrust
aside, my enemies! I will walk over you all, and the stones which you
have hurled at me shall serve as a stairway for my ascent!--I have
managed well," said she, continuing to walk restlessly to and fro.
"I have opened the king's eyes to the malignity and cunning of his
friends, and have shown my enemies that I am not afraid of, and scorn
to fly from them. Messrs. Von Bischofswerder and Wöllner will soon come
to the conclusion that they will be worsted in this conflict, and had
better seek to form an alliance with their formidable enemy!"

As she continued walking amid the surrounding stones and ruins, the
blood trickled slowly down her shoulder; and this, with her glittering
eyes, gave her once more the appearance of a tigress--of a wounded
tigress meditating revenge.

Wilhelmine was now interrupted in her train of thought by a noise in
the street that sounded like the distant roll of thunder. She opened
one of the shutters, behind which nothing remained of the window but
the frame, and looked out into the night, and down into the broad
street of the linden-trees, now entirely deserted. But the noise grew
louder and louder, and the street seemed to be faintly illumined in the
distance. This light soon became a broad glare; and then Wilhelmine saw
that it was a funeral procession. She saw a number of dark, shrouded
figures bearing gleaming torches, and then a long funeral car, drawn
by four black horses. A coffin lay on this car. Its silver ornaments
shone brightly in the reflection of the torches; a coronet at the head
of the coffin glittered as though bathed in the dawning light of a new
day. Torch-bearers followed the funeral car, and then came a number of
closed carriages. It was the funeral procession of Countess Julie von
Ingenheim, conveying the corpse to the estate of the family Von Voss,
to deposit it in the ancestral vaults. Wilhelmine stood at the window
and saw this ghostly procession glide by in the stillness of the night.
She remained there until it had disappeared in the distance, and all
was again silent. When she stepped back her countenance was radiant
with a proud, triumphant smile. "She is dead!" said she, in low tones;
"the coronet now glitters on her coffin _only_. I still live, and a
coronet will yet glitter on my brow. A long time may elapse before
I attain this coveted gem; but this wound on my shoulder may work
wonders. I can afford to wait, for I--I do not intend to die. I will
outlive you all--you who dare contend with me for the king's heart. Our
love is sealed with blood, but the vows which he made to you were cast
upon the wind!"

On the following day, the king repaired to Madame Rietz's palace at
the appointed hour. He came with a brilliant suite; all his ministers
and courtiers, and even his son, the Prince Royal Frederick William,
accompanied him. The young prince had come in obedience to his father's
command, but a dark frown rested on his countenance as he walked
through the glittering apartments. When he met the mistress of all this
magnificence, and when the king himself introduced her to his son as
his dear friend, a glance of contemptuous anger shot from the usually
mild eyes of the prince royal upon the countenance of the smiling
friend.

She felt the meaning of this glance; it pierced her heart like a
dagger; and a voice seemed to whisper in her ear: "This youth will
destroy you! Beware of him, for he is the avenging angel destined to
punish you!"

But she suppressed her terror, smiled, and listened to the king, who
was narrating the occurrences of the riot of the day before, and
pointing to the stones which, at the king's express command, had been
allowed to remain where they had fallen.

"It was an insurrection," said the king--"an insurrection of the
populace, that now fancies itself sovereign, and would so gladly play
the master and ruler, and dictate terms to its king. I hate this rabble
and all those who make it subservient to their ends--who use its rude
fists to execute their own plans--and never will I pardon or take into
favor such rebels and traitors."

As the king concluded, he fastened an angry glance on Bischofswerder
and Wöllner, the covert meaning of which these worthies seemed to have
divined, for they cast their eyes down and looked abashed.

The king now turned to Wilhelmine, raised the lace shawl from her
shoulder with a gentle hand, and pointed to the wound which she had
received the day before.

"Look at this, gentlemen! Madame Rietz received this wound while
interposing her own body to protect her king; the stone that inflicted
this wound would, but for her devotion and heroism, have struck me in
the face. My son, you see before you the protectress of your father;
kiss her hand and thank her! And you, too, gentlemen, all of you, thank
the heroic woman who shielded your king from danger."

This was indeed a glorious satisfaction! Wilhelmine's ambitious heart
exulted with joy as she stood there like a queen, her hand extended to
be kissed by a prince royal, by generals, ministers, and courtiers,
whose words of thanks were unceasingly resounding in her ear. But there
was one drop of bitterness in all this honey; and the warning voice
again whispered, "Beware of the prince royal, for he is the avenging
angel destined to punish you!"

The prince royal had given her a second threatening glance when he
stooped to kiss her hand, at the king's command; and she alone knew
that his lips had not touched her hand.

The king had looked on with a smile while his ministers and courtiers
were doing homage to his "protectress." He now turned to the portrait
of his favorite son, Count von der Mark. His boy's soft, mild eyes
seemed to gaze down on his father.

"My son," said the king, in a loud, agitated voice, "I swear to your
blessed spirit, surely in our midst in this hour, I swear that I will
reward the mother you so tenderly loved, for all the affection which
she lavished upon my boy, and that I will never forget her devotion
in risking her own life to preserve mine. My son, I swear to you that
I will be grateful to the preserver of my life while I live, and that
her enemies shall never succeed in lowering her in my high estimation.
My son, in witness of this my solemn vow, I kiss the wound which your
noble mother received in my defence!"

Frederick William stooped and kissed the wound on Wilhelmine's shoulder.

It was a grand, an impressive moment, and Wilhelmine's ambitious heart
exulted. Visions of a brilliant future arose before her soul, and,
as she stooped to kiss the king's hand, she vowed that these visions
should be realized!

But, when she raised her head, she shuddered. She had again encountered
the prince royal's glance. The dagger pierced her heart for the third
time, and the warning voice in her soul whispered for the third time:
"Beware of the prince royal! He is the avenging angel destined to
punish you!"



CHAPTER XI.

YOUTH VICTORIOUS.


Charlotte von Stein sat in her garden pavilion, anxiously awaiting
him for whom it had never been necessary to wait in former days. She
had already given him three invitations to pay her a morning visit
in the little pavilion in which his protestations of love had so
often resounded. But these tender invitations had not been accepted.
He had always found some pretext for avoiding this _tête-à-tête_ in
Charlotte's pavilion; he was too busy, had commenced some work which he
desired to finish without interruption, or was troubled with toothache.

But Charlotte would not understand that he made these excuses in order
to give the dark cloud that hung over them both time to pass away.
With the obstinate boldness so often characteristic of intelligent
women who have been much courted, and which prompts them rather to cut
the Gordian knot with the sword than to unravel it slowly with their
skilful fingers, Charlotte von Stein had for the fourth time entreated
him to grant the desired interview, and Goethe at last consented.

Charlotte was now awaiting him; she gazed intently at the doorway,
and her heart beat wildly. But she determined to be composed, to meet
him in a mild and gentle manner. She knew that Goethe detested any
exhibition of anger or violence in women. She was also well aware
that he was very restive under reproach. Charlotte knew this, and was
determined to give him no cause for displeasure. She desired to see
this monarch bound in her silken toils once more; she desired to see
the vanquished hero walk before her triumphal car as in the past. "I
cannot break with him," said she, "for I feel that I still love him;
moreover, it would be very disagreeable to be spoken of by posterity
as the discarded sweetheart of the celebrated poet! No, no! I will be
reconciled to him, and all shall be as it was before! All! And now be
quiet, my heart, be quiet!"

She took a book from the table before which she was sitting, regardless
of what it might be; her object was to collect her thoughts, and compel
her mind to be quiet. She opened the book, and looked at it with an
air of indifference. It was a volume of Voltaire's works, which Goethe
had sent the day before, when she had written him a note requesting
him to let her have something to read. She remembered this now, and
also remembered that she had as yet read nothing in the volume. Perhaps
she would still have time to make good this omission; Goethe might ask
her about the book. She read listlessly, in various parts of the work;
suddenly this passage attracted her attention:

    "Qui n'a pas l'esprit de son âge
    De son âge n'a que la malheur!"[54]

Strange words these! She felt as if a chilly hand had been laid on her
warm, quivering heart. Was the spirit of her age wanting in her? was
nothing but its unhappiness portrayed in her faded countenance? With an
angry movement she threw the book aside, arose from her seat, and went
to her mirror.

"Am I really old? Is the unhappiness of old age really depicted in my
countenance, while the spirit of youth and love is at the same time
burning in my heart?"

She anxiously scanned her features in search of the handwriting of this
inexorable enemy of women, who stalks pitilessly behind their youth
and beauty, is their invisible companion on all the rosy paths of life,
and who, when he at last becomes visible, drives away all those who had
loved, adored, and done homage to their beauty. Charlotte sighed; she
recognized this handwriting; the enemy was becoming but too plainly
visible! She sighed again.

"Yes, it is written there that I am forty-six years old, and every
one can read it! He, too--alas! he, too!" But after a short pause
her countenance grew brighter. "Charlotte, you should be ashamed of
yourself--you insult your friend and lover! He loves you for your
beauty of heart and mind, and not for your outward beauty. It was your
mind that attracted him, your heart that enchained him, and they have
not undergone any change, have not grown older. He loves you for the
eternal youth that glows in your heart and mind, and he cares not for
the mask with which age has covered your countenance! Yes, thus it
is, and thus it always will be, for Goethe is not like other men; he
cares not for outward appearances, he looks at the inmost being. This
it is that he loves, and ever will love in me, for this is and ever
will be unchanged! Be joyous, Charlotte, be happy! Do not dread the
unhappiness of old age. Voltaire was wrong, and I will take the liberty
of correcting Voltaire. His sentence should read:

    "Qui n'a pas l'esprit de la jeunesse
    N'aura que le malheur de la vieillesse."

"Yes, thus it should read: 'Who does not bear the spirit of youth
within himself, to him old age brings nothing but unhappiness!'"

As her dear friend soon afterward entered the pavilion, Charlotte
advanced to meet him with the reflection of enduring youth resting on
her brow, and a glad smile on her lips.

But he did not observe it, his countenance was grave and earnest. He
came with the conviction that the thunder storm that had been long
gathering overhead would now burst upon them in all its fury. He had
come armed for the fray with this outward sternness of manner, while
his soul was filled with grief and tenderness.

"Goethe," she murmured, extending both hands to greet him, "Goethe, I
thank you for having come."

"Charlotte," said he, gently, "how can you thank me for doing what is
as gratifying to me as to yourself?"

"And yet I was compelled to entreat you to do so for the fourth time.
Three times you excused yourself with pretexts," she cried, forgetful
of her good resolutions, and carried away by her sensitiveness.

"Pretexts?" repeated Goethe.--"Well, if you will have it so, I must
admit that they were pretexts, and this should convince you, Charlotte,
of my anxiety to avoid offending you; for to any one else I would
plainly and openly have said: 'I will not come.' It will be better for
us both if we avoid any further explanation. It would perhaps have
been wiser, my dear Charlotte, if you had endeavored to master this
irritation in silence, instead of bringing about the explanations which
it would have been better for us both to have avoided."

"I have nothing to avoid; I can give every explanation. I can lay bare
my heart and soul to you, Wolf, and give an account of my every thought
and deed. No, I have no cause to avoid explanations. I love you and
have always been true to you, but you, you--"

"My love," he said, interrupting her, "do not reproach me again; my
soul's pinions are already drooping under the weight of reproaches that
retard the flight of my imagination!"

"Now you are reproaching me!" cried Charlotte. "I am to blame that the
pinions of your soul are drooping! O Wolf, how can you be so cruel! To
reproach me!"

"No, Charlotte, I do not reproach you, and how could I? If you have
to bear with me in many things, it is but right that I, too, should
suffer. It is much better to make a friendly compromise, than to
strive to conform to each other's requirements in all things, and,
in the event of our endeavor being unsuccessful, to become completely
estranged. I would, however, still remain your debtor in any agreement
we might make. When we reflect how much we have to bear from all men,
my love, it will teach us to be considerate with each other."[55]

"Then we are no longer to endeavor to live together in happiness,
but only in an observance of consideration toward each other?" cried
Charlotte.

"I had hoped that consideration for each other's weaknesses would lead
us back to happiness. I, for my part, will gladly be indulgent."

"I was not aware that I stood in need of your indulgence," said
Charlotte, proudly.

"I will, however, be indulgent, nevertheless. And I will gladly
say--that is, if you care to hear it--that your discontent and many
reproaches have left no feeling of anger in my heart, although they
inflicted great pain."

"This is surely to be attributed to the fact that candor compels you
to admit that my reproaches are just, and my discontent, as you call
my sadness, but natural under the circumstances. Tell me, Wolf, what
reproaches have I ever made that were not fully warranted by your
changed manner and coldness?"

"There it is!" cried Goethe, beginning to lay aside his kindly manner,
and to resent Charlotte's haughtiness; "therein lies the reproach,
and, I must say, the unmerited reproach. This is the refrain that I
have been compelled to listen to ever since my return. I am changed, I
love you no longer. And yet my return and my remaining here, are the
best and most conclusive proofs of my love for you! For your sake, I
returned--for your sake I tore myself from Italy, and all the beauties
that surrounded me, and--"

"And also from the beauty who had entwined herself around your
faithless heart," added Charlotte.

He did not notice this interruption, but continued in more animated
tones: "And for your sake have I remained here, although I have felt
that this life was scarcely endurable ever since my return. I saw
Herder and the duchess take their departure; she urged me to take the
vacant seat in her carriage, and journey to Italy in her company, but
I remained, and remained on your account. And yet I am told, over and
over again, that I might as well have remained away--that I no longer
take an interest in my fellow-man, and that it is no pleasure to be in
my company."[56]

"That I have never said."

"You have said that and much more! You have called me indifferent,
cruel, cold-hearted! Ask all my other friends if I am indifferent to
them, less communicative, or take less interest in all that concerns
them, than formerly. Ask them if I do not belong more completely to
them and to society than formerly."

"Yes, indeed, so it is! You belong more to them and society, because
you belong less to me; you have abandoned our intimate, secret, and
peculiar relation, in order to devote yourself to the world in general.
This relation is no longer pleasant, because all confidence is at an
end between us."

"Charlotte," cried he, in angry tones, "whenever I have been so
fortunate as to find you reasonable and disposed to converse on
interesting topics, I have felt that this confidence still existed. But
this I must admit," he continued, with increased violence, and now,
that the floodgates were once opened, no longer able to repress his
indignation; "this I must admit, the manner in which you have treated
me of late is no longer endurable. When I felt disposed to converse,
you closed my lips; when I was communicative, you accused me of
indifference; and when I manifested interest in my friends, you accused
me of coldness and negligence. You have criticised my every word, have
found fault with my manner, and have invariably made me feel thoroughly
ill at ease. How can confidence and sincerity prosper when you drive
me from your side with studied caprice?"[57]

"With studied caprice?" repeated Charlotte, bursting into tears. "As if
my sadness, which he calls studied caprice, were not the natural result
of the unhappiness which he has caused me."

"I should like to know what unhappiness I have caused you. Tell me,
Charlotte; make your accusations; perhaps I can succeed in convincing
you that you are wrong."

"It shall be as you say," cried Charlotte, passionately. "I accuse you
of being faithless, of having forgotten the love which you vowed should
live and die with you--of having forgotten it in a twofold love, in a
noble and in an unworthy one."

"Charlotte, consider well what you say; weigh your words lest they
offend my soul."

"Did you weigh your words? You have offended my soul mortally,
fearfully. Or, perhaps, you suppose your telling me to my face that you
had loved another woman in Italy, and had left there in order to flee
from this love, could not have inflicted such fearful pain."

"Had left there in order to preserve myself for _you_, Charlotte; to
remain true to _you_."

"A great preservation, indeed, when love is already lost. And even if
I admit that the beauty of the charming Italian girl made you for the
moment forgetful of your plighted faith, what shall I say to what is
now going on here in Weimar? What shall I think of the great poet, the
noble man, the whole-souled, loving friend, when he finds his pleasure
in secret, disreputable intercourse with a person who has neither
standing nor education, who belongs to a miserable family, and who, in
my estimation, is not even worthy to be my chambermaid? Oh, to think,
to know, that the poet Goethe, the privy-councillor Goethe, the scholar
Goethe--that he steals secretly to that wretched house in the evening
to visit the daughter of a drunkard! To think that _my_ Goethe, my
heart's favorite, my pride, and my love, has turned from me to a person
who is so low that he himself is ashamed of her, and only visits her
clandestinely, anxiously endeavoring to avoid recognition!"

"If I did that, it was for your sake," cried he, pale with inward
agitation, his lips quivering, and his eyes sparkling. "If I visited
her clandestinely, I did so because I knew that your noble perception
was dimmed, and that you were no longer capable of looking down upon
these petty, earthly relations from a more exalted stand-point. If you
were wise and high-hearted, Charlotte, you would ignore a relation that
lies entirely out of the sphere in which we both live. Of what nature
is this relation? Upon whose rights does it trespass? Who lays claim
to the feelings I bestow upon this poor creature? Who claims the hours
that I pass in her company?"[58]

With a loud cry of anguish, Charlotte raised her arms toward heaven, "O
God, he admits it! He admits this fearful relation!"

"Yes," said he, proudly, "he does, but he also entreats you to aid him
in preventing the relation you so greatly abhor, from degenerating--to
aid him in keeping it as it is. Confide in me again, look at this
matter from a natural point of view, permit me to reason with you on
the subject, and I may still hope to bring about a good understanding
between us."[59]

"Not I!" she cried, with a proud toss of her head. "No good
understanding can exist between us while this person stands in the
way--this person who makes me blush with shame and humiliation, when I
reflect that the hand which grasps my own has, perhaps, touched hers;
that these lips--oh, Wolf, I shudder with anger and disgust, when I
reflect that you might kiss me after having kissed her a short time
before!"

"There will be no further occasion for such disagreeable reflections,"
said he, gruffly, his countenance deathly pale. "Out of love I have
endured much from you, but you have now gone too far! I repeat it, you
will never again have to overcome the disgust of being kissed by me,
and while I, as you observed, have perhaps kissed another but a short
time before! And as for this other woman, I must now confess that you
were quite right in reproaching me for visiting her clandestinely, and
making a mystery of our relation. You are right, this is wrong and
cowardly; a man must always avow his actions, boldly and openly; and
this I will do! Farewell, Charlotte, you have shown me the right path,
and I will follow it! We now separate, perhaps to meet no more in life;
let me tell you before I go that I owe to you the happiest years of my
life! I have known no greater happiness than my confidence in you--the
confidence that has hitherto been unbounded. Now, that this confidence
no longer exists, I have become another being, and must in the future
suffer still further changes!"[60]

He ceased speaking, and struggled to repress the tears that were
rushing from his heart to his eyes. Charlotte stared at him in dismay
and breathless anxiety. Her heart stood still, her lips were parted,
but she repressed the cry of anguish that trembled on her lips, as he
had repressed his tears. A warm, tender, forgiving word might perhaps
have called him back, and all misunderstanding might have vanished
in tears, remorse, and forgiveness; but Charlotte was too proud, she
had been too deeply wounded in her love and vanity to consent to such
a humiliation. She had exercised such great power over Goethe for
the past ten years, that she perhaps even now believed that he would
return, humble himself before her, and endeavor to atone for the past.
But the thought did not occur to her that a man can forgive the woman
who mistrusts his love, but that he never will forgive her who wounds
his pride and his honor.

Charlotte did not speak; she stood motionless, as in a trance, and saw
him take up his hat, incline his head, and murmur: "Farewell! dearest,
beloved Charlotte, farewell!"

Then all was still, and she saw him no longer! She glanced wildly and
searchingly around the room, and when the dread consciousness that he
had gone, and that she was surrounded by a terrible solitude, dawned
upon her, Charlotte sank down on her knees, stretched out her arms
toward the door through which his dear form had vanished, and murmured,
with pale, quivering lips: "Farewell! lost dream of my youth, farewell!
Lost delight, lost happiness, lost hope, farewell! Night and solitude
surround me! Youth and love have departed, and old age and desolation
are at hand! Henceforth, no one will love me! I shall be alone!
Fearfully alone! Farewell!"

While Charlotte was wailing and struggling with her grief, Goethe was
pacing restlessly to and fro in the shady little retreat in the park
to which he had so often confided his inmost thoughts in the eventful
years that rolled by. When he left the park, after hours of struggling
with his own heart, an expression rested on his noble and handsome
countenance that had never been observed there before. An expression
of mingled gloom and determination was depicted in his features. His
eyes were luminous, not with their usual glow of enthusiasm, but with
subdued and sudden flames. "Descended into hell, and arisen again from
the dead!" murmured he, with a derisive smile, as he walked on through
the streets to the wretched little house in which Christiane Vulpius
drunken father and his family lived.

She came forward to greet him with an exclamation of joyous surprise,
for it was the first time Goethe had visited, in the light of day, the
little house in which she lived. She threw herself into his extended
arms, entwined hers around his neck and kissed him.

Goethe pressed her lovely head to his bosom, and then raised it gently
between his hands. He gazed long and tenderly into her large blue eyes.
"Christiane," murmured he, "Christiane, will you be my wife?"

A dark glow suffused itself over her face and neck, and then a clear
ringing peal of laughter, like the joyous outburst of a feathered
songster, escaped her coral lips, displaying two rows of pearly teeth.
"I, your wife, my good friend? Why do you jest with poor little
Christiane?"

"I am not jesting, Christiane. I ask you in all earnestness, Will you
be my wife?"

"In all earnestness?" repeated she, the gaze of her large, soft eyes
fastened with an expression of astonishment on Goethe, who stood
regarding her intently, his countenance radiant with a tender smile.

"Give me an answer, Christiane."

"First, give _me_ an answer, my good friend. Answer this question. Do
you love me? Am I still your pet, your singing-bird, your little love,
your fragrant violet?"

"You still are, and will ever remain my pet, my singing-bird, my little
love, and my violet."

"Then let me remain what I am, my dear sir. I am but a poor little
girl, and not worthy to be the wife of a gentleman of high rank; I
would cut but a poor figure at your side, as the wife of the mighty
privy-councillor, and you might even suppose I had only accepted
your love because I had seen the altar and this magnificence in the
background."

"I could not think so, my darling; I know that you love me."

"Then I wish you to understand, good sir, that I must remain as I am,
for you are pleased with me as I am. Let me still remain your violet,
and blossom in obscurity, observed by no one but you, my good friend
and master. I will serve you, I will be your maid-servant, and will
work and sew and cook for you. For this I am suited; but I cannot
become a noble lady worthy to bear your celebrated name. If I were
your wife, you would often have cause to blush for me; if I remain your
love, I can perhaps amuse you by my little drolleries, and you would
have no cause to be ashamed of the ignorant girl who craved nothing
except to be near you, and to have you smile on her sometimes."[61]

"Christiane, you shall ever be near me; I will always smile on you!"
protested Goethe, deeply moved.

"Always near you!" repeated Christiane, in joyous, exulting tones.
"Oh, do let me be with you, good sir! Let me be your servant--your
housekeeper. I will serve and obey you, I will honor you as my master,
and I will love you as my dearest friend!"

"And I," said Goethe, laying his hand on her golden hair, "I swear, by
the Eternal Spirit of Love and of Nature, that I will love you, and
that your happiness shall be the chief end of my life. I swear that I
will honor you as my wife, protect and cherish you as my child, and be
to you a husband and father until death."

He stooped and kissed her shining hair and fair brow, and gazed
tenderly into her lustrous eyes. "And now, my pet, get ready and come
with me!"

"To go where? You cannot intend to walk with me through the public
streets in the broad light of day?"

"Through the public streets, and in the broad light of day, at your
side!"

"But that will not do," said she, in dismay. "It would not be proper
for a noble, celebrated gentleman to be seen in public with a poor,
humble creature like myself. What would the world say?"

"Let the world say what it will! Come, my violet, I will transplant you
to my garden, and there you shall blossom in the future."

She no longer resisted, but threw her shawl over her shoulders,
covered her golden tresses with the hat adorned with roses of her own
manufacture, stepped with Goethe from beneath the roof of her father's
wretched house, and walked at his side through the streets to the
stately mansion on Market Square, henceforth destined to be her home.

Goethe conducted her up the broad stairway, through the antechamber,
and into his reception-room. Both were silent, but the countenances of
both were radiant with happiness.

With a gentle hand he relieved her of her shawl and hat, pressed her
to his bosom, and then, with upturned eyes, he cried, in loud and
impressive tones: "Oftmals hab' ich geirrt, und habe mich wieder
gefunden, aber glücklicher nie; nun ist dies Mädchen mein Glück! Ist
auch dieses ein Irrthum, so schont mich, ihr klügeren Götter, und
benehmt mir ihn erst drüben am kalten Gestade."[62]



CHAPTER XII.

SCHILLER'S MARRIAGE.


The two great intellects, whose genius shed such rays of light over
Weimar, and over all Germany, neither knew nor loved each other. These
two heroes of poetry still kept at a distance from each other, and
yet there was a wondrous uniformity in their inner life, although
their outward existence was so different. Goethe, the recognized poet,
the man of rank, who had never known want or care: Schiller, still
struggling, creating much that was great and beautiful, but aspiring
to, and foreseeing with prophetic mind, a future of greater and more
brilliant success--Schiller, the man of humble standing, who was still
wrestling with want and care. His anxiety and poverty were not destined
to be relieved by the appointment which Schiller received in the year
1789, as Professor of History at the University of Jena, for--no
salary was attached to this professorship!

"A Mr. Frederick Schiller," wrote (not the poet, but) the Minister
Goethe--a report forwarded to the Duke Charles August at that time--"a
Mr. Frederick Schiller, who has made himself known to the world by his
History of the Netherlands, is disposed to take up his abode at the
University of Jena. The possibility of this acquisition is all the more
worthy of consideration from the fact that it could be had gratis."

Gratis! The Dukes of Weimar, Meiningen, Altenburg, and Gotha,
the patrons of the University of Jena, could offer nothing but a
professorship without salary to the poet of "Don Carlos," of "Fiesco,"
of "Louise Müllerin," and of "The Robbers"--to the poet of so many
glorious songs, to the author of "The History of the Netherlands!" They
had but one title, but one appointment, to bestow upon the man to honor
whom was to honor themselves, and this appointment was made to save
expense!

Schiller accepted this professorship with the nobility of mind of the
poet whose soul aspired rather to honor and renown than to pecuniary
reward, and who had, for those who profited by his labors while
withholding all compensation, nothing but a contemptuous shrug of the
shoulders and a proud smile. Schiller's friends were, however, by no
means satisfied with this appointment; his practical friend Körner
called his attention to the fact, that the necessities of life were
also worthy of some consideration, advising him to inform the minister
of state that the addition of a salary to his title of professor was
both desirable and very necessary. But Schiller was too proud to
solicit as a favor what had not been accorded from a sense of duty. He
would not beg bread for the _professor_, hoping that the poet would be
able to support him. He had been accustomed to study close economy,
and to struggle with want; care had been his inseparable companion
throughout his entire life. The poet had ever looked up to heaven in
blissful enthusiasm, rejoicing in the glory of God, and had been "with
Him" while the world was being divided among those who understood
looking after their pecuniary interests better than the poet. His heart
was rich, and his wants were few. He did not desire wealth, and had
refused the rich lady tendered him in marriage by his friend Körner.
His loving heart should alone be his guide in the selection of a wife.

His loving heart! Had not Schiller a Charlotte, as well as Goethe? The
year 1789 had been an eventful one in Goethe's heart's history, and had
effected a final separation between Goethe and his Charlotte: the same
year was also destined to be an important one in Schiller's heart's
history, and to bring about a crisis in his relations to his Charlotte.

The experience of the two women at this period was of a similar nature.
Charlotte von Kalb had often entreated Schiller to pay her a visit,
but in vain. He had invariably excused himself with the plea that the
duties of his professorship in Jena were of such a nature that it was
impossible to leave there even for a single day.

At last Charlotte despatched a messenger to Jena with this laconic
letter: "If you do not come to me in Weimar, I will go to you in Jena.
Answer." And Schiller's answer was--"I am coming!"

She was now awaiting him, gazing fixedly at the door; a nameless fear
made her heart throb wildly.

"He shall not find me weak," murmured she; "no, I will neither weep nor
complain. No, my pride must give me strength to conceal my anguish, and
to hear the decision, whatever it may be, with a smiling countenance. I
will cover my heart with a veil, and it shall rest with him to withdraw
it with a loving hand, if he will."

"Here you are at last, my Frederick!" she said to Schiller on his
arrival. "It seems, however, that a threat was necessary to bring you!"

"No, dearest friend," replied Schiller, gayly, "the threat was
unnecessary! You know that I love you with my whole soul, and my heart
has always yearned to see you once more. The duties of my professorship
are such that I find it almost impossible to leave Jena."

A bitter smile rested for a moment on Charlotte's lips, but she quickly
repressed it. "It is but natural that the new professor should be so
busily engaged as not to be able to find time to pay his friend a
visit. And yet, Frederick, it was necessary that I should speak to you;
life has now brought me to a point where I must decide upon taking one
of two paths that lie before me."

"Charlotte, I am convinced that your heart and your wisdom will prompt
you to take the right path," said Schiller.

She inclined her head in assent. "At our last interview I was excited
and agitated; I reproached you for not having spoken to my husband. I
believe I even wept, and called you faithless and ungrateful."

"Why awaken these remembrances, Charlotte? I have endeavored to forget
all this, and to bear in mind that we should make allowance for words
uttered by our friends when irritated. We have both dreamed a sweet
dream, my friend, and have, unfortunately, been made aware that our
romantic air-castles are not destined to be realized in this prosaic
world."

"Do you call the plans we have both made for our future, romantic
air-castles?"

"Yes," replied Schiller, with some little hesitation, "I am unhappily
compelled to do so. A marriage with you was the brightest and most
glorious air-castle of my fantasy; and may the egotism of my love be
forgiven if I once dreamed that this castle might on some blissful day
descend to earth and open its portals to admit us within its radiant
halls! But sober thought followed quickly upon this trance of ecstasy,
and told me that these heavenly dreams could not be realized."

"Why not?"

"Because I can offer you no compensation for the great sacrifice you
would be compelled to make, and because the thought that you might
live to regret what you had done fills me with horror. You are a lady
of rank, accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of an aristocratic
house. I am only a poor professor, accustomed to hardships and want,
and not in a condition to provide a comfortable home for a wife.
Whoever takes me must enter upon life with modest expectations, and
begin an existence at my side that offers little for the present but
hopes and prospects. It would even require much self-denial on the
part of a young girl, who is but just beginning life, to become the
wife of a poor professor and poet. How much more would it require on
the part of a lady of high rank to exchange a palace for an humble
cottage, and to relinquish wealth, rank, and even the son she so dearly
loves? What could I give her in return after she had relinquished all
these blessings? Charlotte, to live with me is to labor, and labor
would wound your tender hands. Therefore, forgive the enraptured poet,
who thought only of his own happiness when he dared to hope you might
still be his, without reflecting that he had no right to purchase his
happiness at the expense of that of his idol."

"You are right, my dear friend; we must never permit love to make us
selfish, and we must consider the happiness of the object of our love
more than our own. We will both consider this and act accordingly.
You have my happiness at heart; let me, therefore, consider yours.
Schiller, I conjure you by the great Spirit of Truth and Love, now
surely hovering over us, tell me the truth--answer the question I am
about to ask as truthfully as you would before God: Do you love me so
firmly, so warmly, and so exclusively, that my possession can alone
make you happy?"

"Charlotte, this is, indeed, a question that I could only answer before
God."

"God dwells in the breast of each human being, and, by the God of Love,
who has stretched out His hand over me, I demand of you a truthful
answer to my question: Do you love me so firmly, so warmly, and so
exclusively that my possession can alone make you happy?"

A pause ensued--a long pause. The God of Truth and of Love, whose
presence Charlotte had so solemnly proclaimed, alone beheld the pale
countenances of the two beings who stood face to face with the bitter
feeling that nothing on earth is constant, and that all is subject to
change and destruction--even love!

"No!" said Schiller, in a low voice, "no, I do not love you so firmly,
so warmly, and so exclusively. Nor do I believe we would be happy
together, for it is only when no passion exists that marriage can unite
two beings in an eternal union; and then, Charlotte, you are also too
exalted for me, and a woman who is a superior being cannot, I believe,
make me happy. I must have a wife whom I can educate, who is my
creation, who belongs to me alone, whom I alone can make happy, and in
whose existence I can renew my own--a wife who is young, inexperienced,
and gentle, not highly gifted, devoted to me, and eager to contribute
to my comfort and peace."[63]

"In a word, a woman who is young," said Charlotte, with proud
composure, "or rather, a young girl who is like a sheet of white paper,
on which your love is to write the first word."

"Yes, Charlotte, so it is! You understand my heart as you have always
understood it."

"I relinquish from to-day all further claim to any such understanding,
and I can only give you one last piece of advice, and that is, to ask
Mademoiselle von Lengefeld if she is not desirous of being the sheet
of paper on which you could write your name. I advise you to marry
Mademoiselle von Lengefeld; she seems to possess all the required
qualifications: she is not gifted, has no experience, and can certainly
not be called a superior being."

"But a noble, an amiable being," cried Schiller, passionately; "a being
full of innocence and goodness, a fair creature full of heart and
feeling, full of gentleness and mildness; moreover, she has a noble
heart, and a mind capable of great cultivation. She has understanding
for all that is intellectual, reverence for all that is great and
beautiful, and is at the same time modest, affectionate, playful, and
naïve."

"In brief, she is an ideal," said Charlotte, derisively. "But let your
thoughts sojourn with me for a moment longer. At my request you have
told me the truth, now you shall hear the truth from my lips. We might
have spared ourselves all these explanations, but I desired to probe
your heart to assure myself that I would not wound you too deeply by
telling you what I must now avow. Now that I am no longer uneasy on
that score, you shall hear the truth from my lips. My air-castles
have vanished also--vanished so long since, that I scarcely have a
recollection of them, and can only think of them as of a foolish dream,
that neither could nor should have been realized. I have awakened,
and I will remain what I am, the wife of Mr. von Kalb, and the mother
of my son. I live once more in the present, and the past with all its
recollections and follies is obliterated."[64]

"I am glad to hear this," said Schiller, in a clear and composed voice,
the gaze of his large blue eyes fastened on Charlotte's cold and
haughty countenance with an expression of severity. "I am glad to hear
that the past is obliterated from your remembrance, as it is from mine.
I can now speak to you freely and openly of the happiness which the
future has, as I hope, in store for me. I love Charlotte von Lengefeld,
and now that you have discarded me, I am at liberty to ask her to
become my wife."

"Do so," said she, quietly. "We are about to separate, but my blessing
will remain with you; any correspondence between us in the future
would, of course, be annoying, and as our letters of the past have
become meaningless, I must request you to return mine."[65]

"As you had already written to me on this subject several times, I
took the precaution of bringing these letters with me to-day. Here they
are. I have preserved them carefully and lovingly, and I confess that
it gives me great pain to part with these relics of the past."

He handed her the little sealed package which he had drawn from his
breast-pocket; she did not take it, however, but merely pointed to the
table.

"I thank you, and I will now return your letters."

She walked into the adjoining room, closing the door softly behind her.
With trembling hands she took Schiller's letters from the little box in
which she had kept them. She kissed them, pressed them to her heart and
eyes, and kissed them again and again, but when she saw that a tear had
fallen on the paper she wiped it off carefully; she then walked rapidly
to the door and opened it. On the threshold she stood still, composed,
proudly erect.

"Schiller, here are the letters!"

He approached and took them from her hand, which she quickly withdrew.
She then returned to the adjoining room, locking the door behind her.

This was their leave-taking, this their parting, after long years of
love!

With downcast eyes and in deep sadness of heart, Schiller left the
house of the woman he had once loved so ardently. But this soon passed
away and gave place to the blissful feeling that he was once more
free--free to offer his heart, his hand, and his life, to the woman he
loved!

A few days later his heart's longing was gratified. He went to
Rudolstadt and received a loving and cordial welcome from both sisters.
Both! But only one of the sisters was at liberty to bestow her hand.
Caroline was not! Her hand was fettered by her plighted troth, and even
if her husband's consent to a separation could have been obtained,
there were other fetters. She was in her sister's confidence. She knew
that Charlotte loved Schiller tenderly.

They were together in the quiet little parlor, they three alone, for
the mother was absent on a little journey. Schiller sat between the
sisters, his countenance radiant with happiness.

"Oh, my fair friends, how delighted I am to be with you once more!"

"Schiller," whispered Caroline, laying her hand gently on his shoulder,
"Schiller, I have a word to say to you. Come!"

She conducted him to a window-recess, and inclined her head so close
to his ear that her trembling lips kissed one of his fair locks.
"Schiller," whispered she, "you love my sister, and I know that she
loves you. Courage, confess your love, and God bless you both!"

Having said this, she walked noiselessly from the room, retired to her
solitary chamber, closed the door behind her, and sank down on her
knees. She shed no tears, and the brave soul of this noble woman was
exalted above all pain in this hour of her great sacrifice. Her chaste
lips would not express the noble secret in words, even before God. But
her Maker may have read her sacrifice in the expression of anguish and
resignation in her upturned countenance.

"Be happy, Schiller! God bless you both! Be happy! then I will be
happy, too."

On returning to the parlor, Caroline's countenance shone with pleasure,
and her lips parted in a happy smile when she saw the two lovers in a
close embrace, heart to heart.

"Oh, dear Caroline, she has confessed; you were certainly right! She
loves me, she is mine. And so are you, Caroline, you are also mine, and
we three will belong to each other for evermore!"

"Yes, for evermore, my friend, my brother!" She gently entwined her
arms around Schiller's and Lottie's neck; and now the three were joined
in one close and loving embrace.

"I have at last entered the haven of happiness," said Schiller, in deep
emotion. "I have, at last, found my home, and eternal peace and repose
are mine. I am encircled with your love as with a halo, ye beloved
sisters; and now all the great expectations which you have entertained
concerning me will be realized, for happiness will exalt me above
myself. Charlotte, you shall never again have cause to tell me I look
gloomy, for your love will shed a flood of sunshine on my existence
hereafter. You shall teach me to laugh and be merry. O God, I thank
Thee for permitting me to find this happiness! I, too, was born in
Arcadia!"

They held each other in a close embrace, they wept for joy, and their
souls, beaming eyes, and smiling lips, exchanged mute vows of eternal
love and fidelity.

These were blissful days for Schiller. Madame von Lengefeld had given
her consent to the marriage of her daughter Lottie with Schiller,
sooner than the lovers expected. Charles August gave the poet the title
of privy-councillor, and attached a salary of two hundred dollars to
his professorship, as a marriage present. The title delighted Madame
von Lengefeld, and somewhat reconciled her aristocratic heart to the
thought that her daughter, who had been on the point of becoming a
maid of honor, should now marry a man of the people. Schiller deemed
his salary of two hundred dollars quite a small fortune, and hoped
that this, together with the fruits of his poetic labors, would be
sufficient to provide a comfortable home for his darling, and--"space
in the smallest cottage for a happy and loving pair!"

They were a "happy, loving pair;" and the serene heaven of their
happiness was undimmed by the smallest cloud. Had a cloud appeared,
Charlotte's quick eye would have detected and dissipated it before
the lovers were aware of its existence. The sister watched over their
happiness like their good genius, like a faithful sentinel.

At times, while gazing dreamily into his Lottie's soft eyes, Schiller
would smile and then ask her if she really loved him, as though such
happiness were incredible.

In reply, Charlotte would smile and protest that she had loved him
for a long time, and that her sister, who had known her secret, could
confirm her statement.

"And she it was who told me this sweet secret. Yes, Caroline was the
beneficent angel who infused courage into my timid heart."

"Yes, she is an angel!" said Charlotte, thoughtfully. "I look up to her
as to a being far superior to myself, and, let me confess, my beloved,
that the thought sometimes torments me that she really could be more to
you than I am, and that I am not necessary to your happiness."

He gazed into her lovely countenance, an expression of perfect
peace resting on his own. "Your love is all I require to make me
happy. The peculiar and happiest feature of our union is, that it is
self-sustaining, ever revolving on its own axis in a well-defined
orbit; this forbids my entertaining the fear that I could ever be less
to either of you, or that I could ever receive less from you. Our
love has no need of anxiety--of watchfulness. How could I rejoice in
my existence unless for you and Caroline?--how could I always retain
sufficient control over my own soul, unless I entertained the sweet
conviction that my feelings toward both, and each of you, were of such
a nature that I am not forced to withdraw from the one what I give
to the other? My soul revolves between you in safety, ever returning
lovingly from the one to the other, the same star, the same ray of
light, differently reflected from different mirrors. Caroline is nearer
to me in age, and therefore more closely akin to me in the form of her
thought and feeling; but I would not have you other than you are, for
all the world, Lottie. That in which Caroline is your superior, you
must receive from me; your soul must expand in my love, and you must be
my creation. Your blossom must fall in the spring of my love."[66]

"Yes," cried Charlotte, entwining her arm more closely around his neck,
"I will be your creation, and happy shall I feel in the consciousness
of belonging to you, and of being able to contribute somewhat to your
happiness."[67]

On the morning of the twentieth of February, 1790, a closed carriage
drove rapidly from Rudolstadt in the direction of Jena. But this
carriage stopped in the little village in the immediate vicinity of the
university-city--Weningenjena--at the door of the village church with
its tapering spire.

The sexton was standing at the open door in his Sunday suit; when
the carriage drove up, he hastened forward to open the door. A tall
gentleman, attired in black, stepped out; his countenance was pale, but
a wondrous light beamed in his eyes, and noble thoughts were enthroned
on his brow, while his lips were parted in a soft smile. With tender
solicitude, he helped an elderly lady from the carriage. Then followed
a younger lady, with pale cheeks, but with eyes that were radiant with
love and peace. At last a young girl--a girl with rosy cheeks, and a
timid, childlike smile on her fresh lips--was about to descend from
the carriage, but the tall gentleman would not suffer her to touch the
pavement with her tender little feet. He raised her fair form in his
arms, and bore her over the rough stones and into the church.

The two ladies followed, and behind them came the sexton, gravely
shaking his head, and ruminating over the strangely quiet nature of
the approaching ceremony. He did what Pastor Schmidt, who was already
standing between the burning wax-candles in front of the altar, had
told him to do. He closed and locked the church doors, so that no one
should see what was going on in the church.

And you, too, ye rude winter winds, hold your breath and blow softly!
and thou, thou clear blue sky, look down mildly; and thou, bright sun,
shed thy warmest rays through the windows into the little village
church of Weningenjena. For the poet Frederick Schiller is standing
before its altar at the side of his lovely bride. Charlotte weeps, but
her tears are tears of emotion and of joy. The mother stands at her
side, her hands folded in prayer. Caroline's eyes are upturned; and God
reads the mute entreaty of her lips.

Schiller's countenance is radiant with peace and happiness, and manly
determination beams in the large blue eyes that gaze so firmly and
tranquilly at the preacher, who stands before the altar, proclaiming
the sacred nature of the union about to be consummated.

Subdue your fury, ye boisterous winter storms! do not touch the poet's
cheeks too rudely with your cold breath. He has already suffered
much from cold winter winds, he has journeyed over rough paths--has
renounced and struggled, and has often seen his heart's fairest
blossoms bruised and borne away by rude storms. Be tranquil, and let
the spring-time come, that the buds of his hopes may put forth blossoms.

Shed thy glorious light upon this little church, thou heavenly sun!
greet the poet Frederick Schiller, the poet of the German nation, who
is now celebrating life's fairest festival before its holy altar! But,

    "Ah, life's fairest festival
    Ends the May of life anon;
    With the girdle, with the veil,
    Is the fond illusion gone!"


THE END.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: "Schiller's Relations to his Parents and the Walzogen
Family," pp. 62-68.]

[Footnote 2: Fragment of a dialogue between the King and the Marquis,
last Scene, Act III., of "Don Carlos:"

"_King._ And now leave me.

"_Marquis._ If I can do so with an accomplished hope, this will be the
most glorious day of my life.

"_Marquis._ It is no lost one in mine!"]

[Footnote 3: Schiller's own words.--See "Schiller's Relations to
Parents," etc., p. 450.]

[Footnote 4: Schiller's own words.--See "Relations to Parents," etc.,
p. 451.]

[Footnote 5: Ibid., p. 416.]

[Footnote 6: Schiller's own words.--See "Relations to Parents," etc. p.
452.]

[Footnote 7: Schiller's own words to Henrietta von Wolzogen.--See
"Relations," etc., p. 452.]

[Footnote 8: This scene is historically exact.]

[Footnote 9: Schiller's own words.--See "Relations," etc., p. 448.]

[Footnote 10: See Charlotte.--"For the friends of the deceased,"
printed as MS., p. 86.]

[Footnote 11: A provincialism. It should be, "ist nicht aus Stuttgart,"
and means is not from Stuttgart.]

[Footnote 12: In Germany, the word "thou" is frequently used instead of
"you" in families and among children, and intimate and dear friends.]

[Footnote 13: Schiller's own words.--See "Schiller's Flight from
Stuttgart," etc., p. 216.]

[Footnote 14: Zimmermann.--"Frederick the Great's Last Days," p. 163.]

[Footnote 15: Frederick's words a short time before his death.]

[Footnote 16: The king's own words.]

[Footnote 17: "Will you have the goodness to give me your arm, my
prince?"]

[Footnote 18: "Sire and my king, you confer a great honor on me, and I
am very grateful."]

[Footnote 19: The Fox and the Crow.]

[Footnote 20: Frederick's own words.--See "Frederick William III.," von
Eylert, vol. i., p. 455.]

[Footnote 21: To this habit of Frederick William may be attributed
the fact that he was not able to express himself fluently in his own
language in later years. When the king spoke French his conversation
was vivacious and forcible; when he spoke German, however, he was stiff
and embarrassed.]

[Footnote 22: The king's own words, uttered beside Frederick's corpse.]

[Footnote 23: This drawing, which the prince royal had made of the
body of Frederick the Great, was afterward framed, and hung for many
years in his study, with this inscription, in his own handwriting: "I
sketched this on the 17th of August, 1786, between the hours of 9 and
10 /P.M./"]

[Footnote 24: See Preuss.--"Frederick the Great, a Biography," vol. iv.]

[Footnote 25: This scene is accurate.--See "Mémoires de la Comtesse de
Lichtenau."]

[Footnote 26: "Unter den Linden," a street in Berlin.]

[Footnote 27: Historical.]

[Footnote 28: A nickname given the princess at court.]

[Footnote 29: Frederick von Trenck suffered long years of imprisonment
on Princess Amelia's account.--See "Frederick the Great and his
Family," by L. Mühlbach.]

[Footnote 30: This article appeared in the August number of 1788, and
created a great sensation in all classes of society.]

[Footnote 31:

    "I will repay thee in a holier land--
    Give thou to me thy youth;
    All I can grant thee lies in this command.
    I heard, and, trusting in a holier land,
    Gave my young joys to Truth.

    Give me thy Laura--Give me her whom love
    To thy heart's core endears;
    The usurer bliss pays every grief--above!
    I tore the fond shape from the bleeding love
    And gave--albeit with tears."

_Sir E. B. Lytton's Schiller._
]

[Footnote 32: Marie von Arnim married Count von Kunheim, and retired
with him to his estates in Prussia. She never saw Schiller again, nor
did she ever forget him. A fine portrait of Schiller hung over her bed
until her death. After the death of her husband, in the year 1814,
Countess Kunheim returned to Dresden, and lived there in retirement
until her death, in the year 1847. But she died without issue, and
could not fulfil Schiller's prophecy, and speak to weeping children and
grandchildren assembled around her death-bed.]

[Footnote 33: Schiller's own words.--See his correspondence with
Körner.]

[Footnote 34: Schiller and his Times, by Johannes Scherr.--Vol. ii., p.
89.]

[Footnote 35: "Trip to Italy."--Goethe's Works.]

[Footnote 36: Goethe's own words.--See "Trip to Italy," Goethe's works,
vol. xxiii., p. 159.]

[Footnote 37: This cat story Goethe relates precisely as above, in his
"Italian Trip."--See Goethe's Works, vol. xxiii., p. 181.]

[Footnote 38: Goethe's own words.--See "Italian Trip," vol. xxiv., p.
146.]

[Footnote 39: When marriage is spoken of, my child, I feel like leaving
at once.]

[Footnote 40: Let us only marry, the rest will take care of itself.]

[Footnote 41: Leonora's own words.--See Goethe's Works, vol. xxiv., p.
135.]

[Footnote 42: Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, canto v.--Translated by
H. W. Longfellow.]

[Footnote 43: See Goethe's Works, vol. xxiv., p. 37.--"Trip to Italy."]

[Footnote 44: Goethe's own words.--See correspondence of Duke Charles
August with Goethe, vol. ii.]

[Footnote 45: Von Stein, the name of Goethe's sweetheart--anglicized:
_Stone_.]

[Footnote 46: Goethe's correspondence with Madame von Stein, vol. ii.,
pp. 170, 171. Literal translation.]

[Footnote 47: Schiller's Life, by Caroline von Wollzogen, p. 115.]

[Footnote 48: Schiller's own words.--See "Schiller's Correspondence
with Körner," vol. ii., p. 21.]

[Footnote 49: Ibid.]

[Footnote 50: Goethe's words.--See "Goethe's Works," vol. xxiii.]

[Footnote 51: Goethe's words.]

[Footnote 52: In the latter part of the year 1787.]

[Footnote 53: See "Private Letters," vol. iii.]

[Footnote 54:

    He who has not the spirit of his age
    Has nothing but the unhappiness of his age.
]

[Footnote 55: Goethe's own words.--See "Goethe's Correspondence with
Madame von Stein," vol. ii., p. 326.]

[Footnote 56: Goethe's own words.]

[Footnote 57: Goethe's own words.--See "Goethe's Correspondence with
Madame von Stein," vol. iii., p. 327.]

[Footnote 58: Goethe's own words--See "Correspondence with Madame von
Stein," vol iii., p. 328.]

[Footnote 59: Ibid.]

[Footnote 60: Goethe's own words.--See "Correspondence with Madame von
Stein," vol. iii., p. 330.]

[Footnote 61: Christiane Vulpius really rejected Goethe's offer of
marriage.--See Lewes's Life of Goethe, vol. ii. p. 121.]

[Footnote 62: "Often have I erred, and always found the path again, but
never found myself happier; now in this maiden lies my happiness. If
this, too, is an error, oh spare me the knowledge, ye gods, and let me
only discover it beyond the grave!"]

[Footnote 63: Schiller's own words.--See "Schiller's Correspondence
with Körner," vol. ii.]

[Footnote 64: Charlotte's own words.--See "Schiller's Life of Caroline
von Wollzogen."]

[Footnote 65: Charlotte's own words.--See "Charlotte: A Life Picture,"
p. 80.]

[Footnote 66: Schiller's own words.--See "Schiller's Life of Caroline
von Wollzogen."]

[Footnote 67: Lottie's own words.--Ibid.]



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    can vie with that race upon the Brighton road."--_London Times._


_THE EXPLOITS OF BRIGADIER GERARD. A Romance of the Life of a Typical
Napoleonic Soldier._ Illustrated.

    "The brigadier is brave, resolute, amorous, loyal, chivalrous;
    never was a foe more ardent in battle, more clement in victory, or
    more ready at need.... Gallantry, humor, martial gayety, moving
    incident, make up a really delightful book."--_London Times._

    "May be set down without reservation as the most thoroughly
    enjoyable book that Dr. Doyle has ever published."--_Boston Beacon._


_THE STARK MUNRO LETTERS._ Being a Series of Twelve Letters written by
/Stark Munro/, M. B., to his friend and former fellow-student, Herbert
Swanborough, of Lowell, Massachusetts, during the years 1881-1884.
Illustrated.

    "Cullingworth,... a much more interesting creation than Sherlock
    Holmes, and I pray Dr. Doyle to give us more of him."--_Richard le
    Gallienne, in the London Star._

    "'The Stark Munro Letters' is a bit of real literature....
    Its reading will be an epoch-making event in many a
    life."--_Philadelphia Evening Telegraph._


_ROUND THE RED LAMP. Being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life._

    "Too much can not be said in praise of these strong productions,
    that to read keep one's heart leaping to the throat, and the mind
    in a tumult of anticipation to the end.... No series of short
    stories in modern literature can approach them."--_Hartford Times._

    "If Dr. A. Conan Doyle had not already placed himself in the front
    rank of living English writers by 'The Refugees,' and other of
    his larger stories, he would surely do so by these fifteen short
    tales."--_New York Mail and Express._



By S. R. CROCKETT.

Uniform edition. Each, 12mo, cloth, $1.50.


_THE STANDARD BEARER._ An Historical Romance.

    "Mr. Crockett's book is distinctly one of _the_ books of the year.
    Five months of 1898 have passed without bringing to the reviewers'
    desk anything to be compared with it in beauty of description,
    convincing characterization, absorbing plot and humorous
    appeal. The freshness and sweet sincerity of the tale are most
    invigorating, and that the book will be very much read there is no
    possible doubt."--_Boston Budget._

    "The book will move to tears, provoke to laughter, stir the blood,
    and evoke heroisms of history, making the reading of it a delight
    and the memory of it a stimulus and a joy."--_New York Evangelist._


_LADS' LOVE._ Illustrated.

    "It seems to us that there is in this latest product much of the
    realism of personal experience. However modified and disguised, it
    is hardly possible to think that the writer's personality does not
    present itself in Saunders McQuhirr.... Rarely has the author drawn
    more truly from life than in the cases of Nance and 'the Hempie';
    never more typical Scotsman of the humble sort than the farmer
    Peter Chrystie."--_London Athenæum._


_CLEG KELLY, ARAB OF THE CITY. His Progress and Adventures._
Illustrated.

    "A masterpiece which Mark Twain himself has never rivaled.... If
    there ever was an ideal character in fiction it is this heroic
    ragamuffin."--_London Daily Chronicle._

    "In no one of his books does Mr. Crockett give us a brighter
    or more graphic picture of contemporary Scotch life than in
    'Cleg Kelly.'... It is one of the great books."--_Boston Daily
    Advertiser._


_BOG-MYRTLE AND PEAT._ Third edition.

    "Here are idyls, epics, dramas of human life, written in words that
    thrill and burn.... Each is a poem that has an immortal flavor.
    They are fragments of the author's early dreams, too bright, too
    gorgeous, too full of the blood of rubies and the life of diamonds
    to be caught and held palpitating in expression's grasp."--_Boston
    Courier._

    "Hardly a sketch among them all that will not afford pleasure to
    the reader for its genial humor, artistic local coloring, and
    admirable portrayal of character."--_Boston Home Journal._


_THE LILAC SUNBONNET._ Eighth edition.

    "A love story, pure and simple, one of the old fashioned,
    wholesome, sunshiny kind, with a pure-minded, sound-hearted hero,
    and a heroine who is merely a good and beautiful woman; and if any
    other love story half so sweet has been written this year it has
    escaped our notice."--_New York Times._

    "The general conception of the story, the motive of which is the
    growth of love between the young chief and heroine, is delineated
    with a sweetness and a freshness, a naturalness and a certainty,
    which places 'The Lilac Sunbonnet' among the best stories of the
    time."--_New York Mail and Express._



STEPHEN CRANE'S BOOKS.


_THE THIRD VIOLET._ 12mo. Cloth, $1.00.

    "By this latest product of his genius our impression of Mr.
    Crane is confirmed that, for psychological insight, for dramatic
    intensity, and for the potency of phrase, he is already in the
    front rank of English and American writers of fiction, and
    that he possesses a certain separate quality which places him
    apart."--_London Academy._

    "The whole book, from beginning to end, fairly bristles with
    fun.... It is adapted for pure entertainment, yet it is not easily
    put down or forgotten."--_Boston Herald._


_THE LITTLE REGIMENT, and Other Episodes of the American Civil War._
12mo. Cloth, $1.00.

    "In 'The Little Regiment' we have again studies of the volunteers
    waiting impatiently to fight and fighting, and the impression of
    the contest as a private soldier hears, sees, and feels it, is
    really wonderful. The reader has no privileges. He must, it seems,
    take his place in the ranks, and stand in the mud, wade in the
    river, fight, yell, swear, and sweat with the men. He has some sort
    of feeling, when it is all over, that he has been doing just these
    things. This sort of writing needs no praise. It will make its way
    to the hearts of men without praise."--_New York Times._

    "Told with a _verve_ that brings a whiff of burning powder to one's
    nostrils.... In some way he blazons the scene before our eyes, and
    makes us feel the very impetus of bloody war."--_Chicago Evening
    Post._


_MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS._ 12mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

    "By writing 'Maggie' Mr. Crane has made for himself a permanent
    place in literature.... Zola himself scarcely has surpassed its
    tremendous portrayal of throbbing, breathing, moving life."--_New
    York Mail and Express._

    "Mr. Crane's story should be read for the fidelity with which it
    portrays a life that is potent on this island, along with the best
    of us. It is a powerful portrayal, and, if somber and repellent,
    none the less true, none the less freighted with appeal to those
    who are able to assist in righting wrongs."--_New York Times._


_THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. An Episode of the American Civil War._ 12mo.
Cloth, $1.00.

    "Never before have we had the seamy side of glorious war so well
    depicted.... The action of the story throughout is splendid, and
    all aglow with color, movement, and vim. The style is as keen and
    bright as a sword-blade, and a Kipling has done nothing better in
    this line."--_Chicago Evening Post._

    "There is nothing in American fiction to compare with it....
    Mr. Crane has added to American literature something that has
    never been done before, and that is, in its own peculiar way,
    inimitable."--_Boston Beacon._

    "A truer and completer picture of war than either Tolstoy or
    Zola."--_London New Review._



HAMLIN GARLAND'S BOOKS.

Uniform edition. Each, 12mo, cloth, $1.25.


_WAYSIDE COURTSHIPS._

    "A faithful and an entertaining portrayal of village and rural life
    in the West.... No one can read this collection of short stories
    without feeling that he is master of the subject."--_Chicago
    Journal._

    "One of the most delightful books of short stories which have come
    to our notice in a long time."--_Boston Times._

    "The historian of the plains has done nothing better than
    this group of Western stories. Wayside courtships they are,
    but full of tender feeling and breathing a fine, strong
    sentiment."--_Louisville Times._


_JASON EDWARDS. An Average Man._

    "The average man in the industrial ranks is presented in this story
    in as lifelike a manner as Mr. Bret Harte presented the men in the
    California mining camps thirty years ago.... A story which will be
    read with absorbing interest by hundreds of workingmen."--_Boston
    Herald._


_A MEMBER OF THE THIRD HOUSE. A Story of Political Warfare._

    "The work is, in brief, a keen and searching study of lobbies and
    lobbyists. At least, it is the lobbies that furnish its motive. For
    the rest, the story is narrated with much power, and the characters
    of Brennan the smart wire-puller, the millionaire Davis, the
    reformer Tuttle, and Evelyn Ward are skillfully individualized....
    Mr. Garland's people have this peculiar characteristic, that they
    have not had a literary world made for them to live in. They seem
    to move and act in the cold gray light of reality, and in that
    trying light they are evidently human."--_Chicago Record._


_A SPOIL OF OFFICE. A Story of the Modern West._

    "It awakens in the mind a tremendous admiration for an artist
    who could so find his way through the mists of familiarity to an
    artistic haven.... In reading 'A Spoil of Office' one feels a
    continuation of interest extending from the fictional into the
    actual, with no break or divergence. And it seems to be only a
    question of waiting a day or two ere one will run up against the
    characters in real life."


    ALSO,

_A LITTLE NORSK; or, Ol' Pap's Flaxen._ 16mo. Boards, 50 cents.

    "True feeling, the modesty of Nature, and the sure touch of art are
    the marks of this pure and graphic story, which has added a bright
    leaf to the author's laurels."--_Chicago Tribune._

    "A delightful story, full of humor of the finest kind, genuine
    pathos, and enthralling in its vivid human interest."--_London
    Academy._



/Miss/ F. F. MONTRÉSOR'S BOOKS.

UNIFORM EDITION. EACH, 16MO, CLOTH.


_AT THE CROSS-ROADS._ $1.50.

    "Miss Montrésor has the skill in writing of Olive Schreiner and
    Miss Harraden, added to the fullness of knowledge of life which
    is a chief factor in the success of George Eliot and Mrs. Humphry
    Ward.... There is as much strength in this book as in a dozen
    ordinary successful novels."--_London Literary World._

    "I commend it to all my readers who like a strong, cheerful,
    beautiful story. It is one of the truly notable books of the
    season."--_Cincinnati Commercial Tribune._


_FALSE COIN OR TRUE?_ $1.25.

    "One of the few true novels of the day.... It is powerful,
    and touched with a delicate insight and strong impressions of
    life and character.... The author's theme is original, her
    treatment artistic, and the book is remarkable for its unflagging
    interest."--_Philadelphia Record._

    "The tale never flags in interest, and once taken up will not be
    laid down until the last page is finished."--_Boston Budget._

    "A well-written novel, with well-depicted characters and
    well-chosen scenes."--_Chicago News._

    "A sweet, tender, pure, and lovely story."--_Buffalo Commercial._


_THE ONE WHO LOOKED ON._ $1.25.

    "A tale quite unusual, entirely unlike any other, full of a strange
    power and realism, and touched with a fine humor."--_London World._

    "One of the most remarkable and powerful of the year's
    contributions, worthy to stand with Ian Maclaren's."--_British
    Weekly._

    "One of the rare books which can be read with great pleasure and
    recommended without reservation. It is fresh, pure, sweet, and
    pathetic, with a pathos which is perfectly wholesome."--_St. Paul
    Globe._

    "The story is an intensely human one, and it is delightfully
    told.... The author shows a marvelous keenness in character
    analysis, and a marked ingenuity in the development of her
    story."--_Boston Advertiser._


_INTO THE HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES._ $1.50.

    "A touch of idealism, of nobility of thought and purpose,
    mingled with an air of reality and well-chosen expression, are
    the most notable features of a book that has not the ordinary
    defects of such qualities. With all its elevation of utterance
    and spirituality of outlook and insight it is wonderfully free
    from overstrained or exaggerated matter, and it has glimpses of
    humor. Most of the characters are vivid, yet there are restraint
    and sobriety in their treatment, and almost all are carefully and
    consistently evolved."--_London Athenæum._

    "'Into the Highways and Hedges' is a book not of promise only, but
    of high achievement. It is original, powerful, artistic, humorous.
    It places the author at a bound in the rank of those artists to
    whom we look for the skillful presentation of strong personal
    impressions of life and character."--_London Daily News._

    "The pure idealism of 'Into the Highways and Hedges' does much
    to redeem modern fiction from the reproach it has brought
    upon itself.... The story is original, and told with great
    refinement."--_Philadelphia Public Ledger._



TWO SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN NOVELS.


_LATITUDE 19°._ A Romance of the West Indies in the Year of our Lord
1820. Being a faithful account and true, of the painful adventures of
the Skipper, the Bo's'n, the Smith, the Mate, and Cynthia. By Mrs.
/Schuyler Crowninshield/. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "'Latitude 19°' is a novel of incident, of the open air, of the
    sea, the shore, the mountain eyrie, and of breathing, living
    entities, who deal with Nature at first hand.... The adventures
    described are peculiarly novel and interesting.... Packed with
    incidents, infused with humor and wit, and faithful to the types
    introduced, this book will surely appeal to the large audience
    already won, and beget new friends among those who believe in
    fiction that is healthy without being maudlin, and is strong
    without losing the truth."--_New York Herald._

    "A story filled with rapid and exciting action from the first
    page to the last. A fecundity of invention that never lags, and a
    judiciously used vein of humor."--_The Critic._

    "A volume of deep, undeniable charm. A unique book from a fresh,
    sure, vigorous pen."--_Boston Journal._

    "Adventurous and romantic enough to satisfy the most exacting
    reader.... Abounds in situations which make the blood run cold,
    and yet, full of surprises as it is, one is continually amazed by
    the plausibility of the main incidents of the narrative.... A very
    successful effort to portray the sort of adventures that might have
    taken place in the West Indies seventy five or eighty years ago....
    Very entertaining with its dry humor."--_Boston Herald._


_A HERALD OF THE WEST._ An American Story of 1811-1815. By /J. A.
Altsheler/, author of "A Soldier of Manhattan" and "The Sun of
Saratoga." 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "'A Herald of the West' is a romance of our history which has not
    been surpassed in dramatic force, vivid coloring, and historical
    interest.... In these days when the flush of war has only just
    passed, the book ought to find thousands of readers, for it teaches
    patriotism without intolerance, and it shows, what the war with
    Spain has demonstrated anew, the power of the American people
    when they are deeply roused by some great wrong."--_San Francisco
    Chronicle._

    "The book throughout is extremely well written. It is condensed,
    vivid, picturesque.... A rattling good story, and unrivaled in
    fiction for its presentation of the American feeling toward England
    during our second conflict."--_Boston Herald._

    "Holds the attention continuously.... The book abounds in thrilling
    attractions.... It is a solid and dignified acquisition to the
    romantic literature of our own country, built around facts and real
    persons."--_Chicago Times-Herald._

    "In a style that is strong and broad, the author of this timely
    novel takes up a nascent period of our national history and founds
    upon it a story of absorbing interest."--_Philadelphia Item._

    "Mr. Altsheler has given us an accurate as well as picturesque
    portrayal of the social and political conditions which prevailed in
    the republic in the era made famous by the second war with Great
    Britain."--_Brooklyn Eagle._



_"A BOOK THAT WILL LIVE."_


_DAVID HARUM._ A Story of American Life. By /Edward Noyes Westcott/.
12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "Mr. Westcott has done for central New York what Mr. Cable, Mr.
    Page, and Mr. Harris have done for different parts of the South,
    and what Miss Jewett and Miss Wilkins are doing for New England,
    and Mr. Hamlin Garland for the West.... 'David Harum' is a masterly
    delineation of an American type.... Here is life with all its
    joys and sorrows.... David Harum lives in these pages as he will
    live in the mind of the reader.... He deserves to be known by
    all good Americans; he is one of them in boundless energy, in
    large-heartedness, in shrewdness, and in humor."--_The Critic._

    "Thoroughly a pure, original, and fresh American type. David Harum
    is a character whose qualities of mind and heart, eccentricities,
    and dry humor will win for his creator notable distinction.
    Buoyancy, life, and cheerfulness are dominant notes. In its
    vividness and force the story is a strong, fresh picture of
    American life. Original and true, it is worth the same distinction
    which is accorded the _genre_ pictures of peculiar types and places
    sketched by Mr. George W. Cable, Mr. Joel Chandler Harris, Mr.
    Thomas Nelson Page, Miss Wilkins, Miss Jewett, Mr. Garland, Miss
    French, Miss Murfree, Mr. Gilbert Parker, Mr. Owen Wister, and Bret
    Harte.... A pretty love story also adds to the attractiveness of
    the book, that will be appreciated at once by every one who enjoys
    real humor, strong character, true pictures of life, and work that
    is 'racy of the soil.'"--_Boston Herald._

    "Mr. Westcott has created a new and interesting type.... The
    character sketching and building, so far as David Harum is
    concerned, is well-nigh perfect. The book is wonderfully bright,
    readable, and graphic."--_New York Times._

    "The main character ought to become familiar to thousands of
    readers, and will probably take his place in time beside Joel
    Chandler Harris's and Thomas Nelson Page's and Miss Wilkins's
    creations."--_Chicago Times-Herald._

    "We give Edward Noyes Westcott his true place in American
    letters--placing him as a humorist next to Mark Twain, as a master
    of dialect above Lowell, as a descriptive writer equal to Bret
    Harte, and, on the whole, as a novelist on a par with the best
    of those who live and have their being in the heart of hearts of
    American readers. If the author is dead--lamentable fact--his book
    will live."--_Philadelphia Item._

    "True, strong, and thoroughly alive, with a humor like that of
    Abraham Lincoln and a nature as sweet at the core. The spirit of
    the book is genial and wholesome, and the love story is in keeping
    with it.... The book adds one more to the interesting list of
    native fiction destined to live, portraying certain localities and
    types of American life and manners."--_Boston Literary World._

    "A notable contribution to those sectional studies of American life
    by which our literature has been so greatly enriched in the past
    generation.... A work of unusual merit."--_Philadelphia Press._

    "One of the few distinct and living types in the American
    gallery."--_St. Louis Globe-Democrat._

    "The quaint character of 'David Harum' proves to be an
    inexhaustible source of amusement."--_Chicago Evening Post._

    "It would be hard to say wherein the author could have bettered the
    portrait he sets before us."--_Providence Journal._

    "Full of wit and sweetness."--_Baltimore Herald._

    "Merits the heartiest and most unequivocal praise.... It is a
    pleasure to call the reader's attention to this strong and most
    original novel, a novel that is a decided and most enduring
    addition to American literature."--_Boston Saturday Evening
    Gazette._



A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE WAR WITH SPAIN.

    _CANNON AND CAMERA._ Sea and Land Battles of the Spanish-American
    War in Cuba, Camp Life, and Return of the Soldiers. Described and
    illustrated by /J. C. Hemment/, War Artist at the Front. With over
    one hundred full-page pictures taken by the author, and an Index.
    Large 12mo. Cloth, $2.00.

    "The most interesting book about the war so far is 'Cannon and
    Camera.' It is also the best, considered purely as a narrative. Mr.
    Hemment was at the right places at the right times.... No series of
    pictures as good as this on the scenes and events of the war has
    been made by any other man."--_Boston Herald._

    "Clever and picturesque.... Over one hundred capital instantaneous
    photographs illustrate Mr. Hemment's well-written record, and
    not the least of the book's recommendations is the outspoken
    simplicity of its style and the strong impression it makes upon
    the reader of being the uninfluenced evidence of an eye-witness
    who 'draws the thing as he see it,' and without exaggeration or
    prejudice."--_Sunday-School Times._

    "Will have a permanent value and a popularity which doubtless the
    more technical books will lack."--_Army and Navy Register._

    "Accurate as well as picturesque.... Mr. Hemment has done his work
    well. In point of faithful realism there has thus far been nothing
    better in the whole war literature."--_Boston Journal._

    "The pictures comprise the best set of war views that we have
    seen."--_Philadelphia Inquirer._

    "He is able to give us consecutive pictures of the war, possessing
    the great value of viewing it from beginning to end."--_Baltimore
    Sun._

    "It is a history of the war that will become more valuable as time
    passes, for it is, in its pictures, an unimpeachable record of
    events."--_Cleveland Plain Dealer._


    _RECOLLECTIONS OF THE CIVIL WAR._ By /Charles A. Dana/. With
    Portrait. Large 12mo. Cloth, gilt top, uncut, $2.00.

    "Out of his rich material Mr. Dana has woven a marvelous
    narrative.... Written, as the book is, in Mr. Dana's inimitable
    English, it is worthy to rank with the autobiography of Grant
    in the list of the really great works which will bear down to
    posterity the true story of the great war for freedom and for the
    Union."--_Boston Journal._

    "It is a book filled with vitality and warm with strong life. It
    tells history in the strongest and most impressive manner, and the
    personality of the writer gives it an additional interest. It is
    one of the valuable books of the year.... It is sincere even in
    its prejudices; the most original and enduring work of a strong
    thinker. The book is a most important contribution to the history
    of the civil war; it is readable from first page to last, and its
    vitality will outlast that of more elaborate works on the same
    subject."--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

    "The book will rank among the trustworthy sources of knowledge of
    the civil war."--_New York Evening Post._

    "As interesting as a novel."--_Buffalo Commercial._

    "The book is one of absorbing interest."--_Providence Journal._



THE STORY OF THE WEST SERIES.

/Edited by/ RIPLEY HITCHCOCK.

Each, illustrated, 12mo, cloth, $1.50.

    _THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD._ By /Cy Warman/, author of "The Express
    Messenger," etc. With Maps, and many Illustrations by B. West
    Clinedinst and from photographs.

    "As we understand it, the editor's ruling idea in this series has
    not been to present chronology or statistics or set essays on the
    social and political development of the great West, but to give
    to us vivid pictures of the life and the times in the period of
    great development, and to let us see the men at their work, their
    characters, and their motives. The choice of an author has been
    fortunate. In Mr. Warman's book we are kept constantly reminded of
    the fortitude, the suffering, the enterprise, and the endurance
    of the pioneers. We see the glowing imagination of the promoter,
    and we see the engineer scouting the plains and the mountains,
    fighting the Indians, freezing and starving, and always full of a
    keen enthusiasm for his work and of noble devotion to his duty. The
    construction train and the Irish boss are not forgotten, and in the
    stories of their doings we find not only courage and adventure, but
    wit and humor."--_The Railroad Gazette._


    _THE STORY OF THE COWBOY._ By /E. Hough/, author of "The Singing
    Mouse Stories," etc. Illustrated by William L. Wells and C. M.
    Russell.

    "Mr. Hough is to be thanked for having written so excellent a book.
    The cowboy story, as this author has told it, will be the cowboy's
    fitting eulogy. This volume will be consulted in years to come as
    an authority on past conditions of the far West. For fine literary
    work the author is to be highly complimented. Here, certainly, we
    have a choice piece of writing."--_New York Times._


    _THE STORY OF THE MINE._ As illustrated by the Great Comstock Lode
    of Nevada. By /Charles Howard Shinn/.

    "Mr. Shinn writes from ample personal acquaintance with his
    subject--such acquaintance as could only be gained by familiarity
    with the men and the places described, by repeated conversations
    with survivors of the early mining adventures in the Sierras and
    the Rockies, and by the fullest appreciation of the pervading
    spirit of the Western mining camps of yesterday and to-day. Thus
    his book has a distinctly human interest, apart from its value as a
    treatise on things material."--_Review of Reviews._


    _THE STORY OF THE INDIAN._ By /George Bird Grinnell/, author of
    "Pawnee Hero Stories," "Blackfoot Lodge Tales," etc.

    "Only an author qualified by personal experience could offer us
    a profitable study of a race so alien from our own as is the
    Indian in thought, feeling, and culture. Only long association
    with Indians can enable a white man measurably to comprehend their
    thoughts and enter into their feelings. Such association has been
    Mr. Grinnell's."--_New York Sun._


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.





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